Village Idiot - New Wolsey Theatre

Village Idiot

Performed from Wed 29 Mar — Sat 1 Apr

'Village Idiot' Trailer (Captions available)

'Village Idiot' Trailer

In an unkept field in the English countryside on a sunny but chilly day sits a brown leather armchair, an older woman sitting in it, wearing a fur coat and smoking a pipe. A younger woman perches on the armrest and a middle-aged man stands behind the chair, his hands on the back of the armchair as he leans on it. All three of them look grumpy and cynical. The words 'Village Idiot' are above them in the sky, in large purple letters. Photo credit: Gary Lashmar.

“If I were an animal there would be legislation to protect my home, but because I’m just a bloody human they can do whatever the f**k they like.”

Townies have decided they want a lie in, so they’re building a new high-speed railway. Issue is, it’s going right through Barbara Honeybone’s house, and she ‘ent having none of it. Barbara’s grandson Peter works for the townies and it’s his job to convince the village that having a two-tonne bullet hurtling through the cabbage patches will actually be for the best.

Then there’s Harry, Barbara’s younger grandson, he ‘ent that bothered about trains, he’s only got eyes for Debbie Mahoney. But the only thing Barbara hates more than townies is the Mahoneys.

Welcome to Syresham, South Northamptonshire. It’s not quite the Cotswolds, not quite one of those posh villages Americans have in movies, but it does have 'Syresham’s Got Talent,' the headline event of the village fair. There’ll be songs, dancing, magic, drag, a bit of wrestling, and Kevin’s doing a meat raffle (vegetarian option: two tins of Strongbow).

'Village Idiot' is an audacious comedy, where family feuds kick off around a country fair that you townies are all invited to.

We hope it’s a bit like the other plays you’ve seen here, but less s**t.

Ramps on the Moon is the pioneering initiative committed to putting deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work.

Presented by Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon. Written by Samson Hawkins. Directed by Nadia Fall.

Every performance of 'Village Idiot' will be in a Relaxed Environment and will have Captions and recorded Audio Description. There are also Touch Tours available before the show upon request, please contact the Box Office if this is of interest.

Age Guidance 16+.

Contains very strong language and discusses themes and uses language some may find upsetting relating to class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, sex, gender identity and disability.

This production contains flashing lights, mild strobe lighting, loud music and sound effects, haze, fire, a shotgun (fired offstage), the smoking of herbal cigarettes, blood and realistic magic tricks.

'Village Idiot' uses outrageous comedy to tell the story. It will certainly shock some people. It will certainly offend some people. Some will be upset by the very strong language, which includes swearing. The characters make jokes about class, race, sexuality, sex, gender identity, trans people and disability. The New Wolsey Theatre doesn’t endorse the offensive terminology used by some of the characters. We believe one of the roles of theatre is to hold a mirror up to the world we live in; to begin a dialogue and challenge perceptions. For us, 'Village Idiot' ultimately carries a message of inclusivity, arguing that when we learn to accept each other’s differences and celebrate our individuality, the world is a richer place.

We’re aware that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and if you’d like to talk to a member of staff before booking, please contact our friendly Box Office team on 01473 295900, or email

Cast & Creatives

Mark Benton — Kevin

Mark Benton headshot


Theatre credits include As You Like It (National Theatre); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hairspray Edna (UK Tour), Hobson's Choice (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre); Railway Children (Waterloo Station), The Wind in the Willows (Northern Stage), Invisible Friends, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Devil's Disciple (National Theatre); As You Like It (Cheek By Jowl - World Tour); Richard Ill (Royal Shakespeare Company); End of the Food Chain (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Cock and Bull (Riverside Studios), Hurly Burly (The Old Vic); The Front Page (Donmar Warehouse); Kosher (Royal Court); Comedians (Lyric Hammersmith) and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Nottingham Playhouse).

Television credits include Christmas Carole, Ratburger, Damned, Psychobitches (Sky); Grantchester, Midsomer Murders, The Halcyon, The Fixer, Britannia High, Blue Murder, City Lights.Clash of the Santas, Northern Lights, If I Had You, Booze Cruise, Afterlife, P/anespotting, Quite Ugly One Morning, Christmas Lights, Micawber, The Jump, The Governor (ITV); Dodger: The Specials, The Syndicate, Death in Paradise, Outnumbered Christmas Special, The Tracey Ullman Show, Inside No.9, Summer Here, Father Brown, Strictly Come Dancing, White Van Man, Inspector George Gently, Waterloo Road, Land Girls, Silent Witness, Hustle, Desperate Romantics, Personal Affairs, Most Sincerely, The Street II, I'm With Stupid, Doctor Who, Early Doors, Catterick, Born and Bred, Clocking Off, Murphy's Law, Out of Control, Crime and Punishment, Preston Front, Eureka Street, Nature Boy, Letting Go, Ba//ykisange/, Randall & Hopkirk Deceased (BBC), Big Tree City (Netflix); The Nevers (HBO); Dunk History (Comedy Central); Coming Up, Anderson (Channel 4), Soapington (Avalon); Second Coming (Red Productions); Gimme Gimme Gimme (Tiger Aspect); This is Personal (Granada); Finney (Zennith); Panto' (Baby Cow Productions).

Film credits include Cyrano; The Medusa; Danny and the Human Zoo; Eddie the Eagle; Career Girls; Sea Change; Topsy Turvy; The Lost Son; Never Better; Morality Play; Mister In-Between; Redemption Road; Lighthouse Hill; Breaking and Entering; Flick; Condementia; Beyond the Pole; The lmanginarium of Dr Parnassus.

Radio credits include The Break, Good Omens, The Christmas Mysteries, History of Titus Groan, Power in Crimpsea (BBC Radio 4); Jesting About II (BBC One), Mr Blue Sky (Avalon), The Torchbearers (BBC Radio 3).

Maximilian Fairley — Harry

Max Fairley headshot


Maximilian trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating with a BA Honours in Acting in 2022. Theatre credits while training include The Busy Body, The Duchess of Ma/fi, A Disturbance in Mirrors, The Threepenny Opera, and Promiscuous/Cities. Since leaving Central, he had the opportunity to perform in a showcase with brand new material written specifically for him by Philip Ridley at The Arcola Theatre.

Philip Labey — Peter

Philip Labey headshot


Theatre credits include While the Sun Shines (Orange Tree Theatre); Shakespeare in Love (Theatre Royal Bath), Posh (Nottingham Playhouse / Salisbury Playhouse), First Episode (Jermyn Street Theatre), Not About Heroes (Theatre By the Lake), The History Boys (Mercury Theatre, Colchester); The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (Belgrade, Coventry), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Rupert Goold, 360 Theatre); Peter Pan (New Vic), Hamlet and Henry V (Cambridge Shakespeare Company); Adam Lives in Theory (Finborough Theatre). TV credits include The Power (Amazon Prime); Vanity Fair (ITV), Ho/by City (BBC), The Royals (Lionsgate), Casualty (BBC), Doctors (BBC), Red Dwarf (BBC). Film credits include The People We Hate at the Wedding (Amazon), On Chesi/ Beach (Number 9 Films & Lionsgate), London Wall (Master Media). Radio credits include Doctor Who.

Joseph Langdon — Liam

Joseph Langdon headshot


Theatre credits include: Winners (The Wardrobe Ensemble), Faith, Hope, Charity (European Tour), Equus (Trafalgar Studios); Harper Regan (Tabard Theatre), Richard II (THSC), Talon (Bristol Old Vic), The Colours (Theatre West), Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic / National Youth Theatre); Off Colour (Off the Record). Film credits include Why I Run (short film); Late (short film); Anonymous (short film), Off Colour (short film).

Eileen Nicholas — Barbara

Eileen Nicholas headshot


Theatre credits include: Medea, Midsummer (Edinburgh International Festival/NTS), Sleepwalking (Hampstead Theatre); Richard Ill (Headlong), Mary Stuart (West End/ Almeida Theatre); Del Gesu's Viola, It's Only Words, Queen of Lucky People (Oran Mor and Traverse), Every One (Battersea Arts Centre), I Killed Rasputin (Avalon/ George Square Theatre); I Didn't Always Live Here (Finborough); All About My Mother (Old Vic), Buried Child (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); A Chorus of Disapproval (Theatr Clywd); End Game and Request Programme (Donmar Warehouse), Lobster/Vantastic (Oval House/ Natasha Davis); Talking Heads (Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds), Misery (Milestone Productions), Cutting A Rug (Young Vic), The Wizard of Oz (Mac Robert Theatre), The Hardy Tree Experiment (Off The Cuff Theatre).

Television credits include: Django; The Royals (Lionsgate for El); Casualty, Doctors, Between the Lines (BBC), Broken (BBC/LA Productions); Midwinter of the Spirit, Half Broken Things (ITV); Law & Order UK - 'Dawn Ti/ Dusk' (ITV1), Widow Maker (Central Television); The Bill (Thames Television); Dr Finlay's Casebook (Scottish Television).

Film credits include: See How They Run; Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back); Blackwood; The Quiet Ones; The Wee Man; Estranged; The Child; Late Bloomers; The Bomber; Trainspotting; Regeneration; Mr Corbett's Ghost; The Gap (Sonos Award Winner).

Faye Wiggan — Debbie

Faye Wiggan headshot


Faye has been involved in dance and performance from a very young age and has been an active member of Hijinx Theatre's North Academy for the past six years. Faye has performed in many Hijinx projects and productions over the years including a collaborative piece with Hong Kong Arts Festival (No Limits) during lockdown. Faye had a part in the Mold Riots community theatre production (Theatr Clwyd) in 2019 as well as a more recent production of Maryland. Her most recent role was in National Theatre Wales' A Proper Ordinary Miracle (2022). During the pandemic Faye played a role in Hijinx's training sessions with NHS trusts across London as well as role play with medical students at Bangor University. She also played the role of Younger Woman in A Good Poem by Ellen Renton in Graeae Theatre's online performance night Crips with Chips.

Lily Arnold — Set & Costume Designer

Jack Bradley — Dramaturg

Emilie Carter — Costume Supervisor

Patricia Davenport — Company Stage Manager

Nadia Fall — Director


Nadia trained at Goldsmiths College, University of London (MA Directing) and on the NT Studio's Directors programme. Nadia directed The Village and King Hedley II as her first shows as Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East.

In May 2020, she directed The Outside Dog for BBC One as part of London Theatre Company's Talking Heads monologue series. In September 2020, she directed NO MASKS for Sky Arts, a one-off drama based on testimonials from key workers. Nadia wrote and directed Welcome to Iran, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of the Lockdown Theatre Festival.

She recently directed Shining City and The Sun, The Moon, And The Stars at Stratford East. Her other directing credits include Three Sisters, The Suicide, Our Country's Good, Dara, Chewing Gum Dreams, Home, Hymn, and The Doctor's Dilemma (National Theatre); Hir and Disgraced (Bush Theatre), Rand D (Hampstead Theatre); Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hobson's Choice (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre); How Was It For You7 (Unicorn Theatre); Sticks & Stones (Polka Theatre); The Maids (Lyric Hammersmith); Miss Julie (Croydon Warehouse Theatre); Wild Turkey (Site Specific).

As Associate Director, credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night­-Time (Gielgud Theatre), Collaborators and The Habit of Art (National Theatre).

As Staff Director, credits include Rocket to the Moon, Really Old, Like Forty Five, Phedre, and Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre).

She has directed at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and led participation initiatives with partners such as the Young Vic, Clean Break, Soho Theatre, and the Royal Court.

Christina Fulcher — Intimacy Director

Darius Gervinskas — Creative Enabler

Kate Godfrey — Voice & Dialect Coach

Valentine Hanson — Creative Enabler

The headshot of Valentine Hanson.

Valentine Hanson plays Merriman/Lane. For theatre, his work includes The Emperor's New Clothes (Small Truth Theatre), Orpheus Descending (Theatr Clwyd), Orpheus Descending (Menier Chocolate Factory), We Anchor In Hope (The Bunker/ W14 Productions), Handfast (Nutshell Theatre), The Sisterhood (Belgrade Theatre), Hector (Eden Court/Mull Theatre), Cuming And Going (Boom at the Bush Theatre), Stopsearch (Catford Broadway Theatre), For One Night Only/Footprints In The Sand, Letting Go/Footprints In The Sand (Pursued By A Bear), Festen (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre), G.I. Burns (Forest Forge Theatre Company), The Tempest (Orange Tree Theatre), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Bill Kenwright Limited), Come With Me (Roundabout/Nottingham Playhouse), After The End Of The World (Red Ladder Theatre Company), Positive Mental Attitude (Theatre Centre), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Classic Theatre) and Racine's Andromache (Grassy Knoll). For television, his work includes The Friday Night Project and Casualty; and for film, London Voodoo and Crucifixion Island.

Amelia Hawkes — Creative Associate - Lighting

Samson Hawkins — Writer


Samson is a playwright & theatre practitioner from Syresham, Northamptonshire. Village Idiot is Samson's debut full-length play. His audio play Oh for f*cks sake (i'm in love with you) was produced by Nottingham Playhouse after receiving the 'In Good Company' Take Off Award.

Samson has been a member of the Royal Court Writers Group, Oxford Playhouse Playmakers, Graeae Beyond, New Perspectives New Associates, and The Soho Writers Lab where he was nominated for the Soho Young Writers Award. Samson is also a Leicester Curve Resident Artist and is signed with Casarotto Ramsey & Associates.

Greg Higginson — Creative Enabler

Richard Howell — Lighting Designer

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille — Movement Director

Ciara Killick — Creative Enabler

Cara Lawless — Captions Creator

Zoe Leonard — Assistant Stage Manager

Rachael Light — Creative Associate - Costume & Props

Sam Lupton — Illusion Consultant

Training: Manchester School Of Theatre (Man met, Acting)

Theatre includes: ‘Wilfred Crompton’ in Spring and Port Wine (Oldham Coliseum 2017); 'Seymour' in Little Shop Of Horrors (UK Tour 2016),  'Boq' in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre, West End); 'Princeton’ & ‘Rod' in Avenue Q (UK Tour 2012); 'Man' in Starting Here, Starting Now'; Greg' in Single Sex and 'Gena Hamlet' in Galka Motalka (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester);  'Harry' in Love On The Dole and 'Young Collector/Sailor' in A Streetcar Named Desire (Bolton Octagon); 'Colin Ireland & Robin Oake' in Out Out Out (Pitgems Theatre); "Jim/Ensemble" in The Hired Man (Bolton Octagon) which won the 2010 TMA Award for Best Performance in a Musical, awarded to the entire ensemble. He Also originated the role of 'Ben' in Firing Life.

Television includes: The Late Late Show (RTE) and Ireland:AM (TV3).

Radio Includes: 'Nino Sarratore' in The Story Of A New Name & My Brilliant Friend (BBC Radio 4), Various Characters in National Velvet (BBC Radio 4)

Workshops: 'Boy & Zacky' in Big Fish; 'John-Michael' in Doris Stokes

Other Work Includes: The Music of Kooman & Diamond (IlliaDebuts, London Debut), "The Concrete Jungle": UK Album Launch (IlliaDebuts), 'West End Switched Off' (Parallel Productions)

Sam has also worked as a puppet coach for the 2014 professional UK tour of Avenue Q. In 2016 he made is directorial debut with How To Curse at London's Etcetera Theatre. For more info visit

Roshi Nasehi — Musical Director

Charlotte Neville — Prop Supervisor

Max Pappenheim — Composer & Sound Designer

Mo Pickering-Symes — Audio Description Creator

Jack Quarton — Captions and Recorded Audio Description Operator

Andrew Quick — Production Manager

Matthew Radway — Captions and Recorded Audio Description Operator

Guy Salim — Associate Movement Director

Sabine Schmidt-Bink — Deputy Stage Manager

Jacob Sparrow — Casting Director

Claire Stamp — Creative Associate - Sound

Timothy Trimingham Lee — Associate Director

Bret Yount — Fight Director

Recent theatre credits include: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Pinter Theatre); An American in Paris (Dominion Theatre); The Miser (Theatre Royal Bath/Garrick Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Young Vic); The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Experience (Hampstead Theatre Studio); Raising Martha and LUV (Park Theatre); The Children, X and Linda (Royal Court Downstairs); The Exorcist (Birmingham Rep); Lazarus (King’s Cross Theatre); One Night in Miami (Donmar Warehouse); The Mountaintop (Young Vic); King Lear (RSC); They Drink It in the Congo (Almeida); Strife (Minerva, Chichester); La bohème (Opera Holland Park); Don Carlo (Grange Park Opera); Romeo and Juliet, The Painkiller, Red Velvet and The Winter’s Tale/Harlequinade (Garrick Theatre/Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company); Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Headlong); Only the Brave (Millennium Centre, Cardiff); Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (National Theatre); The Caretaker, The Master Builder and The Hairy Ape (Old Vic); Bad Jews (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Cyprus Avenue (Abbey Theatre, Dublin/Royal Court Upstairs); Primetime, Human Animals, I See You and Violence and Son (Royal Court Upstairs); Private Lives (ATG tour); Waiting for Godot, Romeo and Juliet and The Effect (Sheffield Crucible); The Winter’s Tale (Cheek by Jowl); The Wasp (Trafalgar Studios); First Love Is the Revolution (Soho Theatre); Hamlet (Barbican); Richard II (Globe Theatre); Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith) and Medea (Gate Theatre).

Reviews of Village Idiot

What the public say

We booked tickets without appreciating the potential of it being offensive, especially in so many ways and while I found it hilariously funny my wife barely smiled. The characters were so well portrayed one couldn't help but have empathy for them all making for an emotionally charged evening being almost in tears of sorrow at some points but of joy for the most part. Brilliant performances all around made for a compelling show that I am so glad not to have missed.


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