"Callow certainly brings a new kind energy to the proceedings"
-The Independent-

"Cherishable lines"
-The Guardian-

"A stellar comic cast"
-Radio Times-

Sorry, The Philanthropist closed on 22 Jul 2017

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About the show

Legendary actor Simon Callow directs a new production of Christopher Hampton's celebrated comedy The Philanthropist, playing for a limited spring season. Playing at Trafalgar Studios and starring some of the UK's best young comedic actors, The Philanthropist began previews April 3rd 2017.

First performed at the Royal Court in 1970, The Philanthropist was written in as an inversion of Moliere's The Misanthrope. Set in an Oxbridge-style University town, the play takes place over 24 hours, following a group of young academics. As the action unfolds in Philip's rooms, professor of philology, action outside in the real world has hit a dramatic climax.

The Prime Minister and his entire cabinet have been assassinated and England's most treasured writers are being taken down one by one. As Philip anguishes over sex, marriage and the meaning of life, The Philanthropist asks if academics are really just a little bit out of touch.

The Philanthropist features an all-star cast, including Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh) as Braham, Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner) as Philip, Lily Cole (St Trinian's) as Araminta, Charlotte Ritchie (Fresh Meat, Call the Midwife) as Celia and Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner) as Donald.

Acclaimed actor and director Simon Callow leads the production, with previous directing credits including Carmen Jones, Shirley Valentine and Single Spies. The Philanthropist is one of the most famous plays by Oscar winner Christopher Hampton, who also penned Les Liaisons Dangereuses as well as translations of Florian Zeller's The Father and The Truth.

An intellectually stimulating, bitingly funny play, The Philanthropist plays a limited season at Trafalgar Studios from April 3rd to July 22nd 2017, having had an official opening night on April 20th 2017.

Who Should See It?

Fans of last year's The Spoils will find similar themes here, and those who enjoyed Art at the Old Vic will recognise Christopher Hampton's work.

The Philanthropist may not be suitable for children.

Playing at

Trafalgar Studio 1
14 Whitehall
Seating Plan

Trafalgar Studio 1 seating plan

Booking period

3rd Apr 2017

21st May 2018

22nd Jul 2017

Running time

2 hours (including interval)


May not be suitable for young children