The Ruffian on the Stair

5 star rating

[Click or tap the stars to read our review]

A darkly comic tale of love, sex for sale, catholicism, homosexuality, power, lies, loneliness and goldfish.
The Ruffian On The Stair at Hope Theatre

Image: Hope Theatre


Genre: Black comedy
Venue: Hope Theatre
Started: Tuesday 29 January 2019
Closed: Saturday 16 February 2019
Running time:1 hr 00 mins
Age suitability: 18+


Brimful of Orton's trademark coruscating wit, violence, sexuality and death are never far from the surface, THE RUFFIAN ON THE STAIR is the 8th in-house production from The Hope Theatre's award winning team.

It follows their previous, award nominated shows THE LESSON and BRIMSTONE & TREACLE and Offie award winning LOVESONG OF THE ELECTRIC BEAR.

It's directed by Paul Clayton whose directing credits include York Theatre Royal, The Watermill, Newbury and Nottingham Playhouse.

As an actor Paul has appeared in a multitude of TV dramas and comedies including Him & Her and Peep Show, various West End stage appearances and, most recently, BRIMSTONE & TREACLE at The Hope.

He became Patron of The Hope Theatre in 2017.

The Ruffian On The Stair was originally written for radio and first staged at the Royal Court in 1967, the year Orton met his death at the hands of his lover Kenneth Halliwell.


A darkly comic tale of love, sex for sale, catholicism, homosexuality, power, lies, loneliness and goldfish.

"The heart is situated just below this badge on my pullover. Don't miss, will you?"

When a young man says he's looking for a room, he has so much more on his mind.

For Joyce, an ex prostitute, hiding away from the world, does he bring release, or a different kind of ending?

Left alone by her protector Mike, she has to deal with the intrusion on her own terms with unexpected results.

Placing his characters in a world of mystery, Orton taints their lives with the ordinary and the mundane, giving them a language that is entirely unique, he peels back the skin to outrage, shock, and amuse with a dark and farcical cynicism.

This classic comedy of menace tells of shady meetings and a desire for revenge.

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Postal address:
207 Upper Street
London N1 1RL

Box office tel: 0333 666 3366

Box office email: -

Location map for Hope Theatre


Previews from:Tuesday 29 January 2019

Press night:Thursday 31 January 2019

Closes:Saturday 16 February 2019

Performance days & times


Tuesday ‑ 7‑45pm

Wednesday ‑ 7‑45pm

Thursday ‑ 7‑45pm

Friday ‑ 7‑45pm

Saturday ‑ 7‑45pm






Lucy Benjamin - Joyce

Gary Webster - Mike

Adam Buchanan - Wilson


Author: Joe Orton
Director: Paul Clayton

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