Cillian Murphy-Led Grief Is the Thing With Feathers to Play London's Barbican

London News   Cillian Murphy-Led Grief Is the Thing With Feathers to Play London's Barbican
Ivo van Hove's The Damned and Simon Stone's Medea are also part of the theatre season at the performing arts center.
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Cillian Murphy Tim Walker

London's Barbican has unveiled its theatre programming for January–June, 2019. Included in the lineup is the Off-Broadway bound Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, adapted and directed by Enda Walsh and starring Cillian Murphy.

The slate also includes Ivo van Hove's stage adaptation of The Damned (recently seen Off-Broadway), as well as Simon Stone's Medea from the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and Cheek by Jowl and Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre's production of The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

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Ivo van Hove Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers reunites Murphy (Inception, Batman Begins) with playwright and director Walsh (Disco Pigs, Ballyturk). Adapted and directed by Walsh from Porter's novel, the play follows a widower and his two young boys who are visited by Crow—an antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter—who threatens to stay until they no longer need him.


Presented by Wayward Productions in association with Complicité, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers will play the Barbican March 25–April 13, 2019, after which it will head directly to St. Ann's Warehouse as previously reported (April 20–May 12). The production received its world premiere at Galway's Black Box Theatre earlier this year.

Also slated for March, the Barbican will see the return of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (formerly known as Toneelgroep Amsterdam; now led by van Hove, Margreet Wieringa, and Wouter van Ransbeek) with the U.K. premiere of Medea, adapted and directed by Australian film and theatre director, writer, and actor Stone. The contemporary retelling of Euripides’ tragedy, performed in Dutch, stars Marieke Heebink (Persona) in the lead role.

In June, Comédie-Française will bring their acclaimed The Damnes (Les Damnés) to the Barbican. Recently seen Off-Broadway in the Park Avenue Armory, the adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s 1969 Oscar-nominated film about the dangers of ideology, moral corruption, and political upheaval, is directed by Tony winner van Hove. Set in 1933, the story follows the wealthy von Essenbeck family during the rise of Nazi Germany as their steel dynasty falls into the hands of a corrupt family member and SA officer.

Also in June, Barbican welcomes Cheek by Jowl and Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre's production of Francis Beaumont’s subversive 17th century comedy, The Knight of the Burning Pestle. The production, which reunites the companies following their earlier collaborations on Measure for Measure, is performed in Russian with English surtitles.

The lineup also includes a production of Walsh's immersive theatre installation Rooms; a modern-dress version of Brecht’s parable play The Good Person of Szechwan, directed by Yury Butusov and performed by Alexandra Ursulyak; choreographer Pam Tanowitz's theatrical adaptation of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets; Ballet Black's Ingoma (Song), created by company dancer and choreographer Mthuthuzeli November; the U.K. premiere of Serge Aimé Coulibaly's dance piece Kalakuta Republik; and Gecko's physical theatre piece The Wedding.

For the complete lineup, visit

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