A clash of Titans in Orson’s Shadow at Southwark Playhouse

Orson's Shadow

Director, actor and polymath, Orson Welles was an outsized personality and talent in an industry of mediocrity – or so he liked to think.

Now Austin Pendleton’s deliciously funny backstage comedy, Orson’s Shadow, gets its European Premiere at London’s Southwark Playhouse with a great cast.

Stage and screen star Adrian Lukis is set to play Olivier, John Hodgkinson plays Welles, Gina Bellman will be Gone With The Wind actress Vivien Leigh, Edward Bennett is Kenneth Tynan and Louise Ford plays Joan Plowright.


It’s 1960 and backstage at London’s Royal Court Theatre. Hollywood giants Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier have been persuaded to work together for the first time – the inspired idea of legendary theatre critic, Kenneth Tynan.

Welles has agreed to direct Olivier and Joan Plowright in a production of Eugène Ionesco’s masterpiece Rhinoceros. But with Olivier’s eccentric wife Vivien Leigh (Gina Bellman) added to the volatile mix, legendary egos collide both on stage and off.

Based on true events, Orson’s Shadow is a critically acclaimed comedy that is a sharp-witted yet tender-hearted exposé of the thin skins, hot tempers, and rampaging egos that exist when two titans of the stage and screen come together.

It was nominated Outstanding Play of the Year in the Lortel Awards on its New York debut.

Directed by Alice Hamilton, Orson’s Shadow will run in The Large from July 1-25.

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