"Branagh clowns around to score a hit as farce’s hilarious hitman"
-The Evening Standard-

"Branagh and Brydon are perfect pair in furious farce"
-The Guardian-

"Bot an opportunity for a gag, visual or verbal, that’s passed up"
-The Daily Telegraph-

Sorry, The Painkiller closed on 20 Apr 2016

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About the show

Kenneth Branagh starred alongside Rob Brydon in an adaptation of Francis Veber’s classic French farce directed by Sean Foley. This production marked the third in a season of plays by the Kenneth Branagh company who set up residence at the Garrick Theatre from October 2015.

Adapter/director Sean Foley was responsible for the Morcambe and Wise tribute The Play What I Wrote. Foley is a highly respected director of West End comedy past successes include Olivier nominated The Ladykillers, Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw and Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense starring Matthew MacFadyen and Stephen Mangan.

This production was previously seen at the Lyric theatre in Belfast where it received high praise. However this new production was an updated version of the one seen in Ireland.

The play is set in two adjoining hotel rooms one containing a murderer and one a man who wants to die. Brydon played Dudley a depressed local press photographer whose wife has left him and is set on killing himself while Branagh played Ralph a sharply dressed hit man who needs no one. As Dudley draws Ralph into his personal woes the men begin to swap personalities with hilarious results at this darkly comic play descends into a farce of mistake identities and slapstick.

Rob Brydon is a Welsh actor and comedian. He is probably best known for starring as uncle Bryn in hit sit-com Gavin and Stacey and more recently in The Trip alongside fellow actor/comedian Steve Coogan. Brydon made his West End debut in 2012 starring in Alan Ayckbourn’s A Chorus of Disapproval at the Harold Pinter theatre.

Other plays in the inaugural season of the Kenneth Branagh company included The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer.

The Painkiller opened at the Garrick Theatre on the 5th of March 2016 and played until the 30th of April 2016.

Who Should See It?

Fans of a comedy double acts or farce will love this production performed with expert timing by its star leads.

Playing at

Garrick Theatre
Charing Cross Road
Seating Plan

Garrick Theatre seating plan

Booking period

5th Mar 2016

22nd Jan 2021

20th Apr 2016

Running time

1 hour 30 minutes


Recommended for 14+