Bleak Expectations


Get ready for a Bleaking unforgettable night of laugh-out-loud comedy action at London’s Criterion Theatre with BLEAK EXPECTATIONS.

This Spring, see the cream of British comedy and acting talent take on the career defining role of The Narrator, in the riotous new comedy classic – BLEAK EXPECTATIONS.

Based on the award-winning radio series by Mark Evans, BLEAK EXPECTATIONS takes you on a joyfully anarchic journey through Dickensian London and beyond. Follow the heroic misadventures of young Pip Bin as he battles mistaken identities, contemptible conspiracies and surreal plot twists in his quest to save his family and find true love..


MAY: Nina Wadia, Dermot O’Leary, Sally Phillips, Robert Lindsay, Sue Perkins

JUNE: Julian Clary, Adjoa Andoh, Craig Ferguson, Lee Mack

JULY: Stephen Mangan, Jo Brand, Tom Allen, Jack Dee

AUGUST: Alexander Armstrong, Stephen Fry, Ben Miller, Nish Kumar

Book your BLEAK EXPECTATIONS theatre tickets with LOVEtheatre today!

What is Bleak Expectations about?

Bleak Expectations is the riotous story that Charles Dickens might have written after drinking too much gin. Follow Pip’s extraordinary exploits with sisters Pippa and Poppy plus best friend Harry Biscuit as they attempt to escape the calculating clutches of the dastardly Mr Gently Benevolent, defeat the hideous Hardthrasher siblings, and deflect disaster at every turn!

Will evil be vanquished by virtue? Can love triumph over hate? Escape with this joyfully anarchic comedy featuring barbarous boarding schools, contemptible conspiracies, roaring romances, devilish disguises, and definitely, probably, hopefully, a happy ending!

Ticket Information

Tickets available for performances from Wednesday 3rd May to Sunday 3rd September 2023.

Running Time

2 hour 15 minutes, incl interval.

Cast & Creatives

Creatives: Mark Evans (Writer), Caroline Leslie (Director), Katie Lias (Designer), Andrew Exeter (Lighting Designer), Ella Wahlström (Sound Designer)


  • 3- 7 May: Nina Wadia
  • 9-14 May: Dermot O’Leary
  • 16-21 May: Sally Philips
  • 30 May – 4 June: Sue Perkins
  • 6-11 June: Julian Clary
  • 13-18 June: Adjoa Andoh
  • 27 June – 2 July: Lee Mack
  • 4-9 July: Stephen Mangan
  • 11-16 July: Jo Brand
  • 18-23 July: Tom Allen
  • 25-30 July: Jack Dee
  • 1-6 August: Alexander Armstrong
  • 8-13 August: Stephen Fry
  • 15-20 August: Ben Miller
  • 29 August – 3 September: Nish Kumar

Age Guidance: Recommended for ages 10+. This performance uses prop guns and contains loud noises, haze and at points flashes of light.

Booking Period

Wed 3 May - Sun 3 Sep 2023

Weekly Performances

Sunday 3:00PM
Tuesday 7:30PM
Wednesday 7:30PM
Thursday 2:30PM, 7:30PM
Friday 7:30PM
Saturday 2:30PM, 7:30PM

For group bookings of 10 or more:
Submit a request online

Or call 020 7206 1176

Venue Information

Criterion Theatre

218-223 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1V 9LB

Get Directions

Nearest Tube/Rail Station

Piccadilly Circus


3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 38, 55, 88, 159

Nearest Car Parks

Denman Street and Leicester Place


The Times

'A wickedly inventive parody of Victorian melodrama'

The Guardian

'Zings with intelligence & imagination'

Daily Telegraph

'English eccentricity at its madcap best'

Time Out

'Strong whiffs of 'Blackadder' and 'Python' are in the air'

Broadway World

'Cheek-achingly funny!'

The Times

'Lovingly ludricrous'

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