The Dresser

Duke of Yorks Theatre

The Dresser

05 Oct 2016 - 14 Jan 2017

£25.00 - £85.00

Pro reviewers rating
14 reviews

3.7 out of 5.0
Peer reviewers rating
1 reviews

3.0 out of 5.0

As World War II rages, backstage in a provincial English theatre, an ageing, once-famous classical actor is troubled. Sir, the last in a dying breed of great English Shakespearean actors, is unwilling to take to the stage to deliver his renowned portrayal of King Lear. It falls to his faithful dresser Norman to rouse another great performance from him, to keep both the show and its star from falling apart.

This theatrical classic explores the relationship between two men who are reluctantly and inevitably co-dependent.

The first production from Jonathan Church’s new company, formed after Church announced his departure from Chichester Festival Theatre.


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“The tone is tragicomic and director Foley manages the delicate balancing act with great assurance. ”

Neil Norman (Express, The Stage)

“Catches the tenderness between not only Sir and Norman, but also some of the other members of this theatre 'family'. ”

Quentin Letts (Daily Mail)

“Brilliantly served in Foley’s near-faultless production by the partnership of Stott and Shearsmith. ”

Michael Arditti (Express)

“Loving production... Stott is magnificent... Shearsmith: pitiably vulnerable, heartbreaking... Some lovely turns. ”

Mark Shenton (The Stage, London Theatre, Express)

“A particularly fine and sensitive cast... Shearsmith is perfection... Thorpe magnificent... Foley gives every joke its chance. ”

Libby Purves (TheatreCat, Times)

“Funny, dark, moving and a veritable gift for actors... Stott, such a masterful actor, never found wanting, is magnificent. ”

Dominic Cavendish (The Telegraph)

“Compelling... Stott: riveting... Foley’s production... boldly projecting Harwood’s very funny chaos scenes. ”

Susannah Clapp (The Observer)

“Stott has a twinkle, and mines Sir's confusion for both laughs and sadness... Shearsmith is terrific... he's extremely funny. ”

Holly Williams (What's On Stage, Time Out, Independent)

“Shearsmith packs in a potent and toxic cocktail of emotions beneath Norman’s façade of pragmatic, camp cheerfulness... Watchable”

Fiona Mountford (Evening Standard)

“Stott turns in a heartbreaking performance.. Foley's revival embraces all the joy of Harwood's text.. Shearsmith is a delight. ”

Alice Saville (Time Out, Independent)

“Shearsmith is spot-on: dapper, busy, waspish and seething with love-hate... The evening passes pleasantly enough. ”

Michael Billington (The Guardian)

“Finely directed... Shearsmith’s dresser is a wonderful creation... Harwood’s drama is frankly nostalgic... Well acted. ”

Aleks Sierz (Arts Desk, The Stage)

“Stott as Sir is monster lite... Uneven... It is Shearsmith who wins our hearts... he is completely believable. ”

Ann Treneman (Times)

“Increasingly minor-key musings on various forms of personal attachment and on art as both a fuel and a surrogate for life. ”

Ian Shuttleworth (Financial Times)

Reviews (0)