Dead Funny at Vaudeville Theatre tickets
Dead Funny at Vaudeville Theatre tickets

Dead Funny has closed

This show has closed

Overview

The hilarious comedy Dead Funny by Terry Johnson returned to London’s West End for a strictly limited season at the Vaudeville Theatre. The production began previews on the 27th October 2016 and ran until 4th February 2017.

The story follows Eleanor, who wants a child. Her husband, Richard, would indulge her if it wasn’t for the fact his time is taken up running the Dead Funny Society.

When British legends of comedy Frankie Howard and Benny Hilly both fall fowl of the Reaper in the same week, the society gathers for a celebration of laughter and comedy. For Eleanor however, it is not easy to see the funny side of things, especially when your marriage is more dead than either Morecambe or Wise.

The IT Crowd and Humans star Katherine Parkinson took the role of Eleanor, while Steve Pemberton, best known for his work in The League of Gentlemen and Benidorm played the role of Brian.

Ralf Little, best known from sitcoms The Royle Family and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps played Nick, with Emily Berrington (The Inbetweeners 2, Humans) as Lisa and Rufus Jones (W1a, Hunderby) as Richard.

Terry Johnson returned to direct this genius comedy that was first performed in 1994 starring Zoe Wanamaker and David Haig, when it received the Writers Guild Award for Best West End Play, the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and the Time Out Drama Award. As funny as it is moving, Dead Funny was definitely not to be missed.

Terry Johnson is a much loved playwright and director who has had his work performed all across the globe, while landing him a dozen major theatre awards. His play Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy in 1998, while Hysteria won the same award four years earlier. He has also directed a range of work of both his own and written by others, including most recently The Duck House and Oh What A Lovely War.

With an all-star cast and one of the funniest writer/directors to have ever graced the West End stage, Dead Funny was one of the most hotly talked about comedies of the year and was not to be missed. With an official opening on 3rd November 2016 and preview performances having began on 27th October 2016, Dead Funny ran for a strictly limited season at the Vaudeville Theatre until 4th February 2017.

Recommended for

Terry Johnson is one of the funniest dramatists working today. For anyone who is a fan of truly hilarious theatre, you should not miss the chance to see the master of comedy put on one of his most acclaimed plays with a brilliant all-star cast. Fans of his recent plays such as Piano/Forte and Hitchcock Blonde should make the most of the chance to see one of his classics performed.

Age Recommendations: Suitable for ages 15+

Dates and times

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (including an interval)
Opened: 27 Oct 2016
Press night: 03 Nov 2016
Booking from: 03 Feb 2017
Booking until: 04 Feb 2017

Location and map

Vaudeville Theatre
The Strand
London, WC2R 0NH

61 Reviews Add review

Now, it helps - for this show - if you like old-fashioned English comedy. This is quickly impressed upon the audience by the clips... More

u2fancat 5'6'', 30 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Now, it helps - for this show - if you like old-fashioned English comedy. This is quickly impressed upon the audience by the clips from old tv shows, displayed on the stage curtain. Specifically, as we soon see, a liking for Benny Hill is a real help. Handy, then, that I always liked him.. Anyway, the title refers to a local comedy appreciation club, of whom we meet five members: a doctor (hence the skeletons and other anatomical doo-dahs scattered about), played by Rufus Jones: his neglected and broody wife - who doesn't really feel the comedy as the others do (the excellent Katherine Parkinson): their married friends (Ralf Little and Emily Berrington): and the comedy nerd of the group (Steve Pemberton), who bursts in near the start to announce (sadly) the death of Benny Hill. So I hunkered in to try and find it funny. You know what, I needn't have worried. I have often found West End comedy.. perplexing, i.e. what are they all laughing at? But this has a good, clever script, quite a dark story, and the cast is fantastic. It follows the lead of many good plays before it in completely changing our view of the characters as the plot progresses. The first half sees sparks fly during the rows between the doctor and his wife, as he plans an evening of remembrance for Benny, and they babysit for their friends (and wow, is she annoying). But just you wait for the second half, when the story flips, the characters are turned on their heads, and things go so bonkers that the best thing they can do is recreate old comedy sketches. Oh, and we get some (pretty much full-frontal) male nudity. Eh, yeah, whoopee. I'm not going to score him - but I did feel for his wife when she had to, em, touch him.. I'm not one for slapstick, so didn't really appreciate the food fight near the end as much as some others. And do beware if you're in the front two rows - that food really goes flying. I ended up with a sausage roll under my feet, someone else got sprayed with soda water. Ach, all in an evening's entertainment. Recommended - booking until 4 February.

u2fancat 5'6'', 30 reviews, 0 helpful votes

As a 29 year old I wasn't sure if I would really be the target audience for this show, but I decided to try it out as I love most ... More

jamesatwill 178, 71 reviews, 2 helpful votes

As a 29 year old I wasn't sure if I would really be the target audience for this show, but I decided to try it out as I love most of the members of the cast. The cast were absolutely brilliant throughout the whole play, and I couldn't fault them at all, so I am glad I got to see them live. However, the actual play I found very boring, and I think I only laughed out loud twice. I thought it was just due to the subject matter being related to 70's comedians (who I am fairly familiar with despite my age, and could recognise a lot of the sketches that they were parodying), but overall I just didn't find it that funny or compelling, even in the parts of the story that weren't directly related to said comedians. The people I was with (who were older and grew up watching the comedians that are mentioned throughout the play) felt the same - I actually had to convince them to stay for the second half.

jamesatwill 178, 71 reviews, 2 helpful votes

A very funny show, however definitely not one for children as some of the material/language used is quite adult. A family behind ... More

joc78 5"4, 200 reviews, 2 helpful votes

A very funny show, however definitely not one for children as some of the material/language used is quite adult. A family behind us had to leave at the interval due to the adult nature. Katherine Parkinson is particularly funny in this production as the downtrodden wife whose husband has lost interest in her. It will help if you know your comedians from a bygone era (i.e. Benny Hill, Max Miller, Frankie Howerd, Sid James etc) as they get mentioned a lot and impressions are done of them. Beware - sitting in the front row you might get some food thrown at you near to the end of the show!! A very funny evening at the theatre!

joc78 5"4, 200 reviews, 2 helpful votes

I'm not sure what I thought of this show. It was funny but at the same time there where moments where the humour was a little lost... More

fifilou 5"7, 175 reviews, 2 helpful votes

I'm not sure what I thought of this show. It was funny but at the same time there where moments where the humour was a little lost on me - by this I mean the audience was laughing and I wasn't. The plot was also a little lost on me and I couldn't really tell you what it was about or where it was going. The cast did well with what they had and I did laugh hard at some points. The set was simple and didn't change throughout which I actually quite liked. I liked the show I just didn't love it.

fifilou 5"7, 175 reviews, 2 helpful votes

A hilarious (and quite rude!) play, with a very touching and well-written ending. I'm relatively young, so I missed a few of the r... More

jgblunners 6'2", 98 reviews, 2 helpful votes

A hilarious (and quite rude!) play, with a very touching and well-written ending. I'm relatively young, so I missed a few of the references to old comedians, so it would perhaps be even funnier for someone of the generation of the characters in the play. Fabulous performances from the whole cast - my only issue was that the pace felt very slow towards the end of the play when it became more dramatic than comedic.

jgblunners 6'2", 98 reviews, 2 helpful votes

The show was much better than I had anticipated. Lots of references to classic television comedians, and some naughty/cheeky bits ... More

RichardBayton 6"2, 100 reviews, 1 helpful vote

The show was much better than I had anticipated. Lots of references to classic television comedians, and some naughty/cheeky bits which only added to the British humour of the piece. I think this show would be understood and appreciate more by people who had experienced this style of comedy on television when it was originally broadcast but I still appreciated the humour.

RichardBayton 6"2, 100 reviews, 1 helpful vote

A brilliant show. The cast are excellent and a great tribute to some of the classic comedians! It's a simple plot and well acted a... More

paulfootie 6'3", 76 reviews, 3 helpful votes

A brilliant show. The cast are excellent and a great tribute to some of the classic comedians! It's a simple plot and well acted and very funny some classic lines too. I had a row of visitors infant of me who clearly didn't get some of the acts nor the gags (different humour).

paulfootie 6'3", 76 reviews, 3 helpful votes

This was my second go at this play. I enjoyed it so much with a friend that I took my husband back to see it again! Some real laug... More

tapwhizz 168cm, 32 reviews, 1 helpful vote

This was my second go at this play. I enjoyed it so much with a friend that I took my husband back to see it again! Some real laugh out loud moments mingled with pathos and real emotion. Great cast all round but as my husband and I follow the scifi series Humans it was a great treat to see Emily Berrington and Katherine Parkinson live on stage. Fab show. Go see it!

tapwhizz 168cm, 32 reviews, 1 helpful vote

Very enjoyable show with some good laughs. Katherine Parkinson, Steve Pemberton and Rufus Jones are all fantastic in their roles, ... More

shaun 5"10, 59 reviews, 2 helpful votes

Very enjoyable show with some good laughs. Katherine Parkinson, Steve Pemberton and Rufus Jones are all fantastic in their roles, with the dynamic between the three working perfect. Especially funny for those who love the comedy greats of the 60s and 70s, but still very accessible throughout with a lot of very universal humour if not.

shaun 5"10, 59 reviews, 2 helpful votes
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