The Red Lion in West End transfer deal for Stephen Tompkinson

Patrick Marber’s locker room drama, The Red Lion, starring Stephen Tompkinson, is transferring to London’s Trafalgar Studios, following a sellout run in Newcastle.

The Red Lion is a powerful, funny and touching play that reaches beyond the beautiful game.

It explores contrasting ideas about loyalty, ambition and what it takes to win, from the perspectives of three different generations.

Director Max Roberts’ new version, set in the dressing room of a semi-professional football club in the North East, is transferring following the highly successful run, at Live Theatre in Newcastle.

The production is brought to life by Stephen Tompkinson (Spamalot, West End; DCI Banks;
Drop the Dead Donkey); John Bowler (It Just Stopped, The Orange Tree; Operation Elvis, RSC/Almeida; DCI Banks) and Dean Bone (The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes, Live Theatre; The Savage, Live Theatre; Vera, ITV) who will be reprising their roles.

Max Roberts, also artistic director of Live Theatre, said: “The play is inherently accessible, full of salty dialogue and laugh out loud set pieces.

“Its lyrical qualities, to my mind, seem to be enhanced by the north-east vernacular, brought vividly to life by Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler and Dean Bone who also, compellingly, represent the characters emotional complexity”.

Through Marber’s own personal experiences with non-league football, The Red Lion goes far beyond the pitch to look at hope, obsessions and the desperation of humanity to be a part of something.

It is a piece that resonates in contemporary society. The two older characters are at odds with each other, one possessing a sensibility formulated by a before-Thatcher England, the other by its aftermath.

In the middle a youngster is dealing with that fall out.

Patrick Marber said: “To an extent the play is dramatising something about England – that there is one strain of thought which is about community, tolerance and belonging, and there is another which represents a whole counter trajectory about what England could or should be; that England is a business.

The Red Lion runs at Trafalgar Studios from November 1 to December 2.

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