Cast announced for Old Red Lion triptych

London theatre news: Sunday 9 February 2020

Off-West End - Shows

Casting has been announced for a triptych coming to The Old Red Lion in March, headlined by Nuclear War from award-winning playwright Simon Stephens.
Nuclear War / Buried / Graceland at Old Red Lion Theatre

Image: Old Red Lion Theatre

The Old Red Lion's newly appointed Artistic Director Alexander Knott is to present a thought-provoking trio of plays, spearheaded by the first revival of Nuclear War from the multi-award-winning Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time adaptation, Sea Wall, and Heisenberg).

Mr Stephens' text is accompanied by two premiere productions from emerging talent - Buried by David Spencer and Graceland by Max Saunders-Singer.

The three plays find commonality in the exploration of human suffering and how we survive the unimaginable, resonating with today's fraught social divisions in a not-so-United Kingdom.

The programme runs at The Old Red Lion from 3 to 21 March 2020 and casting has now been announced.

Cast of Nuclear War, Buried and Graceland at the Old Red Lion

(From left) Freya Sharp, Zöe Grain, Anthony Cozens and James Demaine

Nuclear War will be brought to life by Zöe Grain (Oneness, Southwark Playhouse; Hedgehog, BoxLess; LOOP, tour) and Freya Sharp (Cockroached, Pleasance; Twelfth Night, Box Clever Theatre; A Christmas Carol, Albany Theatre).

This revival of Mr Stephens' suggestive and experimental Nuclear War follows a woman trying to experience everything life has to offer, just to feel something again.

Based on the nerve-racking true story of Max Spencer who was buried alive in World War II, Buried, written by Max's son David Spencer, will be performed by Max's grandson James Demaine (Bath, The Bread & Roses Theatre; LOOP, tour; Beauty and the Beast, Square Chapel Arts Centre).

This groundbreaking anti-war play takes an honest look at the human condition.

Darkness looms over the classroom in Graceland, by emerging talent Max Saunders-Singer, which will be performed by TV regular Anthony Cozens (Doctor Who, Sherlock and The Last Kingdom, BBC).

Pushed to the edge by his wife - and Elvis Presley - Cozens' overworked and harassed science teacher is just one small spark away from combustion.

Alexander Knott commented ...

"I'm thrilled to bring together an exceptional cast from across BoxLess, Bag of Beard and Grindstone.

Zoe & Freya are hugely physical performers and encapsulate the fusion of text and movement that BoxLess strives for.

Buried was written for James, and as grandson of the protagonist of Buried, this hugely prescient, family story can only be told by him.

Finally, we're thrilled to be working with Anthony Cozens, who will bring an edge of unsettling mania to a darkly comic monologue."

The triptych is a new model for The Old Red Lion, following current demand for 'box-set theatre', with a world-renowned playwright to support brilliant emerging talent, while building a new way of seeing and supporting new writing.

Show listing information


“All I can hear. Are the thoughts scratched onto the inside of my head.”

Simon Stephens' NUCLEAR WAR, a heartbreaking and soul-stopping piece for movement is revived in a collaboration between multiple award winning and critically acclaimed theatre collectives, BoxLess Theatre, Bag of Beard, Grindstone & Take Two Theatricals, accompanied by the premieres of two new pieces of theatre.

An unmissable triple bill production.

Nuclear War premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2017.

“I want, one more time, to be absolutely in the moment”.

In 1943, north of Salerno, Italy, Max Spencer was buried alive.

He was the father of BURIED's writer, David Spencer.

Its actor is his real Grandson.

A story passed across generations.

A harrowing true story, a truthful examination of the human condition and a non-linear, groundbreaking anti-war play - BURIED comes from twice Verity Bargate award winning international writer, David Spencer.

“Oxygen. Fuel. Heat. Combustion.”

In Graceland, Max Saunders-Singer's darkly comic new piece, Mr. Chrichton, an overworked science teacher, is at breaking point, but he's still stood in front of the class banging his head on the whiteboard.

There's something hidden in his desk, and he's determined to teach 9D one last lesson.

Don't push him over the edge, children, he might just open that drawer ...



James Demaine


Anthony Cozens

Nuclear War:

Zöe Grain

Freya Sharp



Nuclear War by Simon Stephens

Buried by David Spencer

Graceland by Max Saunders-Singer

Composer: Samuel Heron

Alexander Knott (Director: Nuclear War / Joint Director: Buried)

Ryan Hutton (Joint Director: Buried)

Sonnie Beckett (Joint Director: Graceland)

Max Saunders-Singer (Joint Director: Graceland)

Set designer: Anna Kezia Wlliams
Sound: Samuel Heron
Movement: Georgia Richardson (Movement Director: Nuclear War)
Production: Boxless Theatre, Bag Of Beard, Grindstone & Take Two Theatricals


Old Red Lion Theatre
418 St John Street


From: Tuesday 3 March 2020

Closed: Saturday 21 March 2020


Standard: £18.50

Concessions: £16.50


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Nuclear War / Buried / Graceland

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