Bleak Expectations to open in the West End with weekly guest stars

A stage adaptation of award-winning BBC Radio 4 show Bleak Expectations comes to the West End this spring!

Caroline Leslie’s production of Mark Evans’ comedy will open at the Criterion Theatre from 18 May, with previews from 3 May, and run to 3 September 2023. Tickets are on sale now here.

The play will feature each week a very special guest star in the role of The Narrator.

Among those confirmed so far to make an appearance are: Nina Wadia (3 – 7 May), Dermot O’Leary (9 – 14 May), Sally Philips (16 – 21 May), Robert Lindsay (23 – 28 May), Sue Perkins (30 May – 4 June), Julian Clary (6 – 11 June), Adjoa Andoh (13 – 18 June), Craig Ferguson (20 – 25 June), Lee Mack (27 June – 2 July), Stephen Mangan (4 – 9 July), Jo Brand (11 – 16 July), Tom Allen (18 – 23 July), Jack Dee (25 – 30 July), Alexander Armstrong (1 – 6 August), Stephen Fry (8 – 13 August), Ben Miller (15 – 20 August) and Nish Kumar (29 August – 3 September).

Bleak Expectations follows young Pip’s extraordinary exploits with sisters Pippa and Poppy plus best friend Harry Biscuit as they attempt to escape the calculating clutches of the dastardly Mr Gently Benevolent, defeat the hideous Hardthrasher siblings, and deflect disaster at every turn!

Will evil be vanquished by virtue? Can love triumph over hate? Escape with this joyfully anarchic comedy featuring barbarous boarding schools, contemptible conspiracies, roaring romances, devilish disguises, and definitely, probably, hopefully, a happy ending!

Book Bleak Expectations tickets here »

Making up the ensemble are Ashh Blackwood, Shane David-Joseph, J.J. Henry, John Hopkins, Dom Hodson, Serena Manteghi, Marc Pickering and Rachel Summers.

The production originally made its world premiere last summer at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. The West End run is directed by Caroline Leslie with design by Kate Lias, lighting by Andrew Exeter, sound by Ella Wahlström and casting by Lucy Jenkins & Sooki McShane.

For more information and tickets, visit

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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