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Bitter Wheat Tickets

Garrick Theatre

John Malkovich stars as a depraved movie mogul in David Mamet’s new play, Bitter Wheat.

The Pulitzer-winning playwright David Mamet returns with a brand new play, starring the legendary John Malkovich. Bitter Wheat casts an eye into the dark depths of Hollywood, taking Harvey Weinstein and the burgeoning conversation around sexuality and consent as its inspiration. Hotly anticipated and very much of our current moment, this is a play that demands attention. The world premiere opens at the West End’s Garrick Theatre on 7 June 2019.

Bitter Wheat charts the drop from power to shame of studio head Barney Fein (John Malkovich), a monstrous individual who lures the young into his cave to be consumed. This is Hollywood, where sex, power and money intersect. It’s a place where anything can be bought and perversity goes unchecked. In other words, it is rotten to its core.

David Mamet has found huge success not only as a playwright, but as a film director, screenwriter and author. His work for the stage was last seen in the West End with the 2017 revival of Glengarry Glen Ross starring Christian Slater. Among the many awards he has collected is a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and he also counts a raft of nominations to his name. Mamet is both writer and director of Bitter Wheat.

The production marks the end of Malkovich’s 33-year stage performance hiatus. The actor seems omnipresent in cinema, having appeared in over 70 films. That includes cult classic Being John Malkovich and the 2018 thriller Bird Box. He has trodden the boards in New York, L.A and London, and counts True West and Death of a Salesman among his stage credits. In 2016 he directed the Rose Theatre's production of Good Canary.

In the role of Barney Fein’s assistant, Sondra, is Doon Mackichan. Perhaps best known as the creator and star of hit sketch show Smack the Pony, she has also appeared in comedy series Brass Eye, Alan Partridge, Toast of London and more. Her London stage credits include The Government Inspector at the Young Vic and Jumpy at the Royal Court.

Ioanna Kimbook makes her debut theatre performance as Yung Kim Li. The actress graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2018.

The cast is rounded out by Alexander Arnold, Teddy Kempner, Matthew Pidgeon and Zephryn Taitte.

A truthful, confronting, black-as-pitch farce, this is the great playwright at his scathing best. Bitter Wheat plays at the Garrick Theatre from 7 June until 14 September 2019.

Performance dates:
20 Sep 2019 - 21 Sep 2019
Running time:
2 hours including an interval.
Age recommendation:
Recommended 16+
Audience Notes:
Fans of John Malkovich will rejoice to see the iconic actor back on stage after so long. Those who enjoyed Mamet’s previous plays, such as Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, won’t want to miss the playwright’s latest offering.

Bitter Wheat Reviews

96 Reviews
  • 5 Stars51%
  • 4 Stars27%
  • 3 Stars15%
  • 2 Stars4%
  • 1 Stars3%

User Reviews


John Malkovich was, of course, brilliant! He was the reason I decided to see the play. The play itself was I suppose controversial, given the content. But I think it was done very well. I certainly enjoyed it.

Performance date: 17 August 2019

The cast - particularly Ioanna Kimbook and, of course, John Malkovich - are incredible, and the show itself, even during the more controversial and tense scenes, is very funny. As cliche as it sounds, this is a play that is so important at the moment Read more

Performance date: 15 August 2019

Bitter Wheat is a dark comedy in which a powerful and maniacal man takes advantage of those around him. Whilst the comedy was never comfortable, it was however darkly laugh out loud funny. John Malkovich carries the show just as well as he carries th Read more

Performance date: 10 August 2019
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