Brimstone & Treacle

2 - 20 May 2017
The Hope Theatre
Matthew Parker conveys the full power of Potter’s angry vision: there are no compromises and he has helped summon four extraordinary performances from his high-powered cast
IThankyou Theatre

The Hope Theatre presents the 40th Anniversary Revival of Dennis Potter’s controversial masterpiece

“All I want is the England I used to know. The England I remember. 
I simply want the world to stop just where it is – and go back a bit.”

Intense and macabre, prophetic and darkly funny, Dennis Potter’s infamous play Brimstone and Treacle exposes the horror lurking in Middle England minds. Behind floral curtains, Mr and Mrs Bates care for their daughter, left injured and insensible following a car crash. A young visitor with a silver tongue crashes into their lives, but is he their saviour, a thief or the Devil himself?

Brimstone and Treacle was originally written as a BBC Play for Today in 1976, but was initially banned on it’s release due to its shocking and disturbing content; it had it’s first production in 1977 at the Sheffield Crucible. Today the work’s depiction of an England as a powder keg of prejudice and fear is more relevant than ever. Following a critically acclaimed and award-winning 2016 season of in-house productions The Hope Theatre (Fringe Theatre of the Year nominee, The Stage Awards) is proud to present the 40th anniversary production of this claustrophobic and divisive play to life with pitch-black humour and a whiff of sulphur.

Directed by The Hope Theatre’s Off West End Award winning Artistic Director Matthew Parker and designed by the award nominated Rachael Ryan, the cast features Olivia Beardsley (The Babadook), Stephanie Beattie, (Break A Leg Critics Choice Best Actress for Steel Magnolias), Fergus Leathem (Game of Thrones) and Paul Clayton (Peep Show, Him & Her). It follows Matthew’s hugely successful, award winning ★★★★★ in-house productions Lovesong of the Electric Bear (winner of 2 OFFIE Awards; transferred to West End 2015), Sea Life (4 OFFIE Award nominations), Steel Magnolias (Winner of 2 Break A Leg Critics Choice Awards inc Best Off West End Production) and Her Aching Heart (Best Play, Spy In The Stalls Awards and 3 OFFIE Award nominations)

Nominated for 2 OFFIE Awards; Best Male for Paul Clayton and Fergus Leathem.







  • Pattie: Olivia Beardsley
  • Mrs Bates: Stephanie Beattie
  • Bates: Paul Clayton
  • Martin: Fergus Leathem


  • Writer: Dennis Potter
  • Director: Matthew Parker
  • Designer: Rachael Ryan
  • Producer: Cas Hodges & David Ralf for The Hope Theatre
  • Lighting: Tom Kitney
  • Sound: Phil Matejtschuk
  • Stage Manager: Emily Humphrys

Director Matthew Parker is to be commended for his choice of play. His sensibilities are finely tuned enough to find the humour in the darkest places.

London Pub Theatres

Whilst the play’s story is dark and disturbing at times, Potter’s script and Matthew Parker’s excellent direction make this an enjoyable production.

London Theatre1

Matthew Parker conveys the full power of Potter’s angry vision: there are no compromises and he has helped summon four extraordinary performances from his high-powered cast.

IThankyou Theatre

Under Matthew Parker’s attentive direction, the ensemble works slickly.

The Stage

Director Matthew Parker has a penchant for the dark comedy of the horrific, and his production of this challenging piece doesn’t flinch from Potter’s vision of life as metaphysical pain and horror.

West End Wilma

Parker creates a singular and disquietingly funny piece of theatre.

Broadway World UK

It is without doubt a fine piece of work expertly directed by the award winning Matthew Parker

Spy In The Stalls

The production is so smoking hot that you can almost smell the sulphur

Stage Reviews

Matthew Parker has shown a flair for plays that adopt idiosyncrasies and elements of non-naturalism, much like Potter himself.

Breaking The Fourth Wall

Under the direction of Matthew Parker the cast of four are a well-oiled machine.

National Student Magazine

A thought-provoking, challenging production, creeping with portent

Islington Gazette

Many a larger venue might have considered a 40th revival of Dennis Potter’s landmark play, but director Matthew Parker has beaten them to it and can bask in the glory of his superb production of this brilliant piece.

Once A Week Theatre

This production, tightly directed by Matthew Parker, has lost none of the punch of the original play, and could not be more timely.

View From The Cheap Seats

Matthew Parker's production brings out the absurdity and dark humour of Dennis Potter's play.

UK Theatre Network

Parker wisely keeps the play's violence ugly and abrasive, a shocking and disturbing act that rightly shocks and disturbs, but his real skill is in showing us just how human the Bates' are.

Ought To Be Clowns