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    Pity tickets

    “Two bombs in one day is a foul coincidence.”

    “Don’t forget the lighting strike.”


    Rory Mullarkey returns to the Royal Court with his latest play Pity, which features as part of the theatre’s highly anticipated 2018 season. Set on a seemingly normal day, the pertinent play sees a ridiculous chain of events occur that ask whether things are getting worse, and if we really care.

    On a normal day, a person stands in the market square and watches the world go by. But what happens next verges on the absolute ridiculous. Cue ice cream, sunshine, dogs, a wedding, bombs, candles, blood, lighting, sandwiches, snipers, looting, gunshots, babies, actors, azaleas, famine, fountains, statues and atrocities of all kinds. And tanks – probably.

    Pity is the new play by Rory Mullarkey, who debuted at the venue in 2014 with The Wolf from the Door. An award-winning writer, he has received the George Devine Award, the Pinter Commission and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama. Further works include Saint George & the Dragon at the National Theatre, Cannibals and Single Sex.

    Royal Court Associate Director Sam Pritchard directs, with credits including Pygmalion at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, which later embarked on a national tour, There Has Possibly Been an Accident and Fireface. Royal Court credits include Grimly Handsome and B.

    The production features as part of the 2018 season, which includes contemporary works such as Thomas Eccleshare’s Instructions for Correct Assembly, Ear for Eye by Debbie Tucker Green and The Cane by Mark Ravenhill. Pity runs at the Royal Court from 12 July to 11 August 2018, with a press night on 18 July 2018.

    Performance dates: 11 Aug 2018 - 11 Aug 2018

    Running time: TBC

    Age recommendation: Recommended 14+

    Special notice: Fans of new writing should make sure they attend the Royal Court 2018 season, which showcases some pertinent new plays.

    Sorry this show closed 11 August 2018, we recommend these similar productions.

    11 seat view photos

    Pity seat view photos show what view you will get for your money. Unfortunately we do not have any seat views for this show.

    Latest audience reviews

    laurenmaytheatre Top 50 reviewer03 Feb 2019

    A rather madcap play acted at full pelt and is totally unpredictable and will leave you exhausted. It... More

    moley Top 100 reviewer01 Aug 2018

    A rather madcap play acted at full pelt and is totally unpredictable and will leave you exhausted. It could do with tightening up in the latter half and is wisely played without an interval as it might otherwise lose more of the audience as you will either love it or loathe it.

    moley Top 100 reviewer01 Aug 2018

    I recently went to a play described as an absurdist farce. No, this is the one that fits that description!... More

    u2fancat Top 200 reviewer28 Jul 2018

    I recently went to a play described as an absurdist farce. No, this is the one that fits that description! Actually, the one thing my group could all agree on was that it is absurd. Utterly. Let me say in advance - I adored it, as did one other of us - the rest pretty much loathed it, and apparently some audience members left during the show, which doesn't have an interval. What the hey, the people around me seemed to like it. And comedy is, as they say, subjective. Meet a young man, waking enthusiastically to what he describes as "a glorious day"! He's happy not to have anything to do - he's unemployed, you see. So he moseys off down to the square to watch the world go by. Which they obligingly do. He chances to meet a young woman, and they are swiftly married - they bond after her father is killed by a freak bolt of lightning. In most plays, this would be a major event. Here, you can't possibly call it a spoiler - what happens to them for the rest of the play makes it pale into absolute insignificance. Indeed, by the time it was brought up again, I'd completely forgotten it'd happened. If you wanted to, you could liken the plot to a reflection on the state of the nation, so to speak. For example, there are a couple of fun political impersonations. (Guess who..) However, I found it better not to worry about the overall plot. Because the overall plot is bonkers. On a scene-by-scene basis, I loved it - I thought the comic instinct was perfect, and I like weird. Plus, you have absolutely no idea, from scene to scene, what's going to happen next. The only predictable thing is, when anyone dies (as someone is obliged to do in most scenes), they play the funeral march. So it's that that'll ring through your head afterwards. In general, we thought the acting was excellent. Someone afterwards likened some of the comedy to some of Spike Milligan's stuff - me, I'm not so familiar with his work; what I associated the style with more was Monty Python. One scene, different in pace from the rest, kind of reminded me of that bit in the Life of Brian where he's picked up by an alien spacecraft.. yeah, think that level of weird. You'll be close. Recommended for those with a sense of humour and a taste for the surreal. But not if you're bothered by flashing lights, smoke, or explosions.

    u2fancat Top 200 reviewer28 Jul 2018

    Ridiculous, total sensory overload. Made me question my humanity and my approach to processing the everyday... More

    amydaniels 12 Aug 2018

    Ridiculous, total sensory overload. Made me question my humanity and my approach to processing the everyday tragedy society entails.

    amydaniels 12 Aug 2018
    Claire28 07 Aug 2018
    oughttobeclowns Top 50 reviewer22 Sep 2018
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