Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem - Old Red Lion Theatre

London theatre news: Monday 1 April 2019

Drama - London Fringe - Shows

Rachel Tookey's award-winning play about the intergenerational impact of mental illness and trauma, gets its first full-length London run at the Old Red Lion from 30 April to 25 May.
Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem at Old Red Lion Theatre

Rachel Tookey's award-winning play - Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem - about the intergenerational impact of mental illness and trauma - will have its first full-length London run at the Old Red Lion Theatre from 30 April - 25 May, coinciding with UK Mental Health Week.

The show follows three family members along three separate timelines, each detailing their own personal struggle with mental illness, and explores the little-known but urgent issue of how mental illness can spread throughout multiple generations, creating fresh trauma in a society unforgiving of those who do not fit the mould.

The play also touches on society's continued omertà around suicide and mental health, particularly within the Catholic Church and in families of Irish heritage.

The story was inspired by the family of playwright Rachel Tookey, her grandmother's early life in an abusive Irish Catholic orphanage, the suicides of her aunt and uncle, and her own struggles with mental health issues while a student.

The play was the winner of the prestigious Methuen Drama/Marlowe Society 'Other Prize', previously won by Jack Thorne.

Tim Cribb, who has run the prize since its inception, has said he believes Bromley to be the best winner since Jack Thorne's 2003 play.

Rachel Tookey's work has been presented in venues such as Southwark Playhouse, the Lyric Hammersmith, the Etcetera Theatre, and New York's Kraine Theater.

Her first play Judge Judy's Buzz World won the Footlights' Harry Porter Prize before transferring to the Camden Fringe, where it received critical acclaim.

She studied at Cambridge University where she became the first ever writer to win both major playwriting prizes, and was published in the prestigious Mays Anthology.

Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem stars Daragh O'Malley (star of the long-running hit show Sharpe's alongside Sean Bean, On Home Ground, Waking the Dead, Silent Witness), Madeleine Bowyer (Black Mirror, Emmerdale, Holby City) and Daniel Rainford (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama graduate).

About the company

Voxie Productions is an award-winning company that focusses on exploring important contemporary issues.

Their first production, Ad Libido, had a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe 2018, receiving four-stars in The Guardian and being listed as one of their "Best Shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2018". 

Show listing information


"I loved the bones of yeh then and I love them now."

Christmas Eve. 1948.

Deep in the heart of Galway, Eamonn, the fattest baby you've ever seen, is found abandoned in a manger.

70 years later, after struggling to make amends with his estranged daughter Sarah and grandson Ben, one final and fateful action leaves the next two generations of his family reeling.


Eamonn: Daragh O'Malley

Sarah: Madeleine Bowyer

Ben: Daniel Rainford


Author: Rachel Tookey
Composer: Hollie Buhagiar
Director: Thomas Martin
Production: Hannah Tookey for Voxie Productions


Old Red Lion Theatre
418 St John Street


From: Tuesday 30 April 2019

Closed: Saturday 25 May 2019


Previews: Tuesday 30th April, Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd May £12 (£3 Job Seekers)

Standard: £18



Under 30's Tickets Tuesday 30th - Saturday 4th May £10

Saturday Matinee Tickets £10

Wednesday 8th, 15th & 22nd May Matinees Pay What You Can


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem

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