The Knight of the Burning Pestle

Cheek by Jowl/Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre

Performance times
three people

Cheek by Jowl reunite with the Russian ensemble ‘so electrifyingly intense they make your hair stand on end’ (The Times) for the first time since Measure for Measure in this outrageous comedy. 

The London Merchant, a drama about dysfunctional families begins. But suddenly, from the audience, a grocer and his wife clamber onto the stage, explaining to the astonished actors that while they quite like the play, it could be a bit better – more exciting. Exotic locations, singing and dancing, and the appearance of a Knight are just the things to cheer the evening up. And, luckily, their apprentice Rafe is the man for the job.

Bursting onto the scene at a critical moment when the existence of theatre was threatened by a popular movement increasingly hostile to art and culture, Francis Beaumont’s subversive comedy of 1607 subtly asks questions that are relevant still. Director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod collaborate with Moscow’s eminent Pushkin Theatre once more on this play within a play.

Duration: 1 hour 40 mins, no interval 
Age guidance: 16+ (Contains some adult themes)

Performed in Russian with English surtitles

Thu 6 Jun
Pre-show talk for members


Presented by the Barbican

Produced by Cheek by Jowl and Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre in a co-production with the Barbican, Les Gémeaux/Sceaux/Scène Nationale, Centro Dramático Nacional, Madrid (INAEM)

Members and Members Plus enjoy 20% off ticket prices for this show.

No booking fee. Discounted tickets subject to availability.

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Performance times


‘A whirlwind anthem to theatre and why we need it now‘
Le Figaro (France)
‘Simple and wild direction … Diabolical tempo … A blaze of life and theatre‘
Télérama (France)
‘Exhilarating comedy‘
Les Inrockuptibles (France)
‘Subtle staging and virtuoso cast‘
Les Echos (France)
‘A richly layered, urgent telling of a play that feels more pertinent than ever‘
‘The entire company are breathtaking‘
Vash Dosug (Russia) on Measure for Measure (2015)

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