The Red Lion - New Wolsey Theatre

The Red Lion

Performed from Thu 7 — Sat 23 Sep

Warehouse Digital

Warehouse Digital

Warehouse Digital

The new artwork for 'The Red Lion, by Patrick Marber.' Against a red background, with the white glow from floodlights coming towards the viewer, are the headshots of three actors, facing us. In the centre and in the foreground is Olatunji Ayofe, with Crispin Letts and Alastair Natkiel looming behind his shoulders on either side. A black banner with white outlines along the bottom of the image reads 'A new production of the West-End hit' in white and red text. The New Wolsey logo is in white in the top left corner of the image. The show title and writing credit are in white above the three actors.

A New Wolsey Theatre production.

‘The Red Lion’ is a gripping changing-room drama written by multi-award-winning writer Patrick Marber and was a smash-hit in the West End. The play takes us into the heart of a struggling semi-pro-league football club trying to make ends meet. It’s a world far from the glamour, millionaires, celebrities and 24-hour media attention of the Premier League.

Things look up when a gifted young player appears out of nowhere, but he soon finds himself stuck between the conflicting ambitions of the kit man – a former club legend, who sees him as the key to returning to former glory days – and the manager, desperate to deliver success with his mind on the money. Loyalty, trust, morals and friendship are pushed to the very edge, leading them to ask is this really the opportunity everyone’s been waiting for?

This brilliant, sensitive and funny play takes us beyond the pitch and into the changing room where banter, laughter, despair and raw emotions are exposed, relationships explode and conflict simmers between three generations as they fight for their individual goals and obsessions, desperate with the want to be a part of something.

Running time: 1 hour & 40 minutes

'The Red Lion' has an age guidance of 14+ and includes language and situations authentic to the characters and worlds portrayed.
This includes very frequent, very strong language; moments of and references to abuse, violence and blood; needles, drug and alcohol abuse and one moment of suicidal language.

The show also contains flashing lights, smoke and haze.

To read the detailed Content Warning for the show, please click the link below. Please do note that it contains spoilers.

Cast & Creatives

Olatunji Ayofe — Jordan

Olatunji Ayofe's headshot.

Theatre credits: After Life (National Theatre), The Living Newspaper: Edition 5 (Royal Court), Half Full (Richard Burton Company/Royal Court), We Need to Talk About Grief (R&D) (Donmar Warehouse), Tartfuffe (Richard Burton Company).

Film credits: The Shepherd (Disney+)

Television credits: Silo (Apple TV)

Crispin Letts — Yates

Crispin Letts' headshot.

Crispin has recently filmed the new HULU series Black Cake; Disclaimer (Apple) and the new Lionsgate feature The Lesson.

Television includes: The Crown (Netflix), Stonehouse (ITV), Strike: Troubled Blood (BBC), The Midwich Cuckoos (Sky) Save Me II (Sky), 6 Wives of Henry VIII (BBC), Victoria (ITV) The Musketeers (BBC), Shetland (BBC), Silent Witness (BBC) Mistresses (BBC), Derailed (BBC), Down to Earth (BBC), Sins (BBC), Princess of Thieves (Granada), Vanity Fair (BBC), A Christmas Carol (C4), The Passion (BBC), Thicker Than Water (BBC), Between The Lines (BBC), French and Saunders (BBC), Coronation Street (Granada), Eurocops (C4), Alice In Wonderland (BBC).

Film includes: The Lesson, Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express, Skyfall, Exodus, Isolation, Esther Kahn, Out of Depth, Angry Earth, and Gregor Samsa in the Oscar-winning Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

Theatre includes: The Entertainer (Kenneth Branagh Company at The Garrick Theatre), The Open House (Ustinov, Bath /Print Room), Hedda Gabler (English Touring Theatre at the Donmar), The Servant (Lyric Hammersmith), Joking Apart (Greenwich), The True Story of Ah Q (Soho Poly), Rutherford and Son, The Village Fete, My Very Own Story (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), The Glass Menagerie (Cambridge), Twelfth Night (Oldham), A Family Affair, Kes (Contact, Manchester), Class K (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Class Enemy (Library, Manchester), Spring Awakening, Peter Pan (Crucible, Sheffield), The Tempest, Measure for Measure, King Lear (Kick Theatre Company).

For the National Theatre: The Wind in The Willows, The Machine Wreckers, Othello, An Inspector Calls (NT West End).

Alastair Natkiel — Kidd

Alastair Natkiel's headshot.

Alastair trained at the Manchester School of Theatre and continues in further training with the Impulse Theatre Company and Mixing Networks.

Television credits include: Gary Brandon in Silent Witness, Lee Banks in Line of Duty Season 5&6, Donald Douglas in The Machines That Built The World, Casualty, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and The Marchioness Disaster.

Theatre credits include: Marcus in Standing At The Sky’s Edge (Sheffield Crucible and National Theatre - Best New Musical Winner ’23 Olivier Awards), Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice (Stafford Shakespeare Festival), Closer Than Ever, Early Birds, Our Boys (Edinburgh Fringe 2018), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Playhouse, West End), Strangers on a Train (Gielgud Theatre), Shrek the Musical (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), The Go-Between (Trafalgar Studios), What Every Woman Knows (Manchester Royal Exchange), Laughter in the Rain – The Neil Sedaka Story (UK Tour), After the Blue (Jermyn St Theatre), Muswell Hill (White Bear – nominated for Best Actor, 2014 Off West End Awards), The Importance of Being Earnest (Baron's Court Theatre) and Dangerous Corner (Landor Theatre).

Films include: Richard Moss in Testing Point (Project Wilde Ltd), Mad To Be Normal (Gizmo Films), The Innocent (White Jacket Productions), Make Aliens Dance (Annex Films), and Two Sides (Mixing Networks Productions - nominated for Best Actor in the 2019 International Film Festival).

Alastair also works regularly as a voice over artist and has recorded several episodes of Silver Street – a radio soap opera for the BBC, as well as the recurring role of Ethan Miller in animation series – MINT for Apple TV+.

Helen Atkinson — Sound Designer

Jamie Beddard — Associate Director

Tabitha Dodds — Assistant Stage Manager

Zoe Hurwitz — Set & Costume Designer

Haruka Kuroda — Fight Director

Clare Loxley — Deputy Stage Manager

Patrick Marber — Writer

Patrick Marber was born in London in 1964. He is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and director. His work has won Evening Standard, Olivier, Time Out, New York and London Critics’ Circle and Writers’ Guild Awards and received BAFTA, British Comedy and Royal Television Society Awards. His screenplays have been nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Awards. He received the British Independent Film Award for Notes on a Scandal. His second play, Closer, has been produced in more than 200 cities across the world.

Other plays include: Dealer’s Choice, Howard Katz, The Red Lion, Three Days in the Country, The Musicians, The School Film, After Miss Julie, Don Juan in Soho. Stage adaptations include versions of Hedda Gabler, Exit The King and The Beaux’ Stratagem (NT) and Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ (Donmar).

Screenplays include: Closer (Columbia Pictures); Notes on a Scandal (Fox Searchlight Pictures); Old Street (Film4/Box Films); Love You More (Film4). Patrick is the co-creator (with Peter Curran) of Bunk Bed (BBC Radio 4).

As a director his productions include Dealer’s Choice (NT/Vaudeville); After Miss Julie (BBC); Closer (NT/Lyric/Music Box NY); ‘1953’ (Almeida); Blue Remembered Hills (NT); The Old Neighborhood (Royal Court); The Caretaker (Comedy); Howard Katz (NT); Three Days in the Country (NT); Travesties (Menier/Apollo/Broadway); Don Juan in Soho (Wyndhams); Venus in Fur (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Exit The King (NT).

Most recently, he directed Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt at the Wyndhams Theatre, which won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2020. Leopoldstadt opened on Broadway in October 2022 and in June 2023 Patrick won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Director of a Play.

Douglas Rintoul — Director

A photograph of Douglas Rintoul outside the New Wolsey Theatre, smiling, with his arms folded.

Douglas is an award-winning theatre-maker and cultural leader. He was born in Suffolk, grew up in Essex, read Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham and was awarded a bursary on the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme to Salisbury Playhouse where he trained as a director. He is the Chief Executive/Artistic Director of the New Wolsey Theatre, was the Artistic Director of Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch (2015 - 2022), founder of the national touring theatre company Transport (2010 - 2017), and an associate of Complicité (2004 - 2010).

Steven Scott-Fitzgerald — Company Stage Manager

Andy Stubbs — Production Manager

Kira Tisbury — Wardrobe Supervisor

Jack Weir — Lighting Designer

Christopher Worrall — Casting Director

Reviews of The Red Lion

What the press say

'Well observed, sharply witted... An entertaining and thought-provoking evening'

British Theatre Guide

What the public say

What an exceptional evening's entertainment. Wonderfully acted and kept us totally absorbed for the full hour and forty minutes. It was such a great shame that the audience was bigger.

ian hughes

Wow! That was amazing. Brilliant. Wonderful, faultless acting. So much script learned & excellently presented. We were fully engaged throughout it all. I am not really a football fan either!


A sensitive and thought provoking production superbly acted by the wonderful cast. Don’t miss it!

Patricia Dawkins

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