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Red Velvet Tickets

Lolita Chakrabarti’s Olivier Award-nominated play, Red Velvet, ran at the Garrick Theatre as part of the inaugural season of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company. The play explores theatre, race and politics during times of upheaval in 1800’s London.

Adrian Lester reprised his role as actor and playwright Ira Aldridge in Lolita Chakrabarti’s critically acclaimed play, Red Velvet. Issues of race and politics are explored through the frame of theatre as we witness history unfold in a production of Shakespeare’s Othello at the dawn of the abolition of slavery.

When the finest actor of the age collapses on stage midway through a performance of Othello, it is down to Ira Aldridge to step in and take over the title role. The year is 1833 and as the African-American actor takes to the stage, the citizens of London take to the streets against anti-slavery legislation that is passed throughout the British Empire. With such a fraught political climate, how will the rioters react to the revolution happening within the walls of the Theatre Royal Covent Garden?

Red Velvet opened at the Garrick Theatre as part of the inaugural season of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company. Branagh praises Chakrabarti’s ‘important and exhilarating’ play, stating that it is as ‘entertaining as it is illuminating’. Chakrabarti writes frequently for the Almeida and Tricycle theatres, with Red Velvet receiving an Olivier Award nomination after the premiere at the Tricycle in 2012. As Aldridge, her husband Adrian Lester is perhaps best known for his role as con-artist Micky Bricks in the BBC drama Hustle, and appears in Branagh’s film of Love’s Labour’s Lost as well as The Day After Tomorrow.

Sorry this show closed 27 February 2016, we recommend these similar productions.

The Mousetrap
Dear England
Backstairs Billy
Performance dates:
27 Feb 2016 - 27 Feb 2016
Running time:
2 hours and 20 minutes including an interval.
Age recommendation:
May not be suitable for very young children
Audience Notes:
Red Velvet is a well-crafted and electrifying play with fabulous performances from the leading cast – fans of high-quality theatre will find what they’re looking with all of the plays in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season.

Latest Audience Reviews

Interesting and Lester was superb.

barrythompson1's avatar
barrythompson1 11 Mar 2018

This show was another triumph in the Kenneth Branagh series at the Garrick. I loved the show and... More

fifilou's avatar
fifilou Top 200 reviewer 19 Mar 2017

Adrian Lester gives a barnstorming performance as Ira Aldridge in this wonderful new play.

sayers500's avatar
sayers500 22 Jan 2018
ShaunNolan's avatar
ShaunNolan 29 Jan 2017

An absolute show stealer from Adrian Lester. His performance as Ira Aldridge was breath-taking, w... More

susannahrosemn's avatar
susannahrosemn Top 200 reviewer 01 Jun 2016
BColeman's avatar
BColeman 03 Dec 2016
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