The Knight of the Burning Pestle


The London Merchant begins, a thoughtful drama about dysfunctional families. But suddenly, from the audience, a grocer and his wife clamber onto the stage and politely explain to the astonished actors that they are a little bit bored and wouldn't it be better to cheer the evening up with exotic locations and a Knight – indeed their apprentice grocer Rafe is just the man for the job!

Rafe is duly arrayed as the Knight of the Burning Pestle and his chivalric adventures are played out while the domestic drama of the London Merchant struggles towards its conclusion, chronically interrupted by the grocer and his wife who surprisingly get highly involved with its gritty, unpredictable narrative.

Beaumont's subversive meta-drama burst onto the stage in 1607, at a critical moment when theatre was threatened by a popular movement increasingly hostile to art and culture. A disturbing farce centuries ahead of its time, it subtly asks questions all the more relevant today: what is art for? Who is art for?

Produced by Cheek by Jowl and Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre in a co-production with the Barbican, London; Les Gémeaux/Sceaux/Scène Nationale; Centro Dramático Nacional, Madrid (INAEM)

16 Jan 2019 - 2 Feb 2019

Les Gémeaux, Sceaux, Paris, France

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24 Apr 2019 - 28 Apr 2019

Centro Dramático Nacional, Madrid, Spain

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DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod