The Jungle Tickets

Playhouse Theatre Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE
Important Info
The Jungle Child Policy

Suitable For Children| Age Guidance: 12+

Important Information

The auditorium has been transformed into the world of the Afghan Café in the Calais Jungle. The Calais camp was largely organised by nationality, and the auditorium space has been designed to reflect this.’

Due to the nature of the performance space you may be asked to check bags and coats into our free cloakroom. No latecomers are permitted. If you leave your seat during the performance you may be prevented from readmission to the auditorium.

Please note, this production contains the following:

Smoke effects; Strobe/ flashing lights; Cigarette smoking; Strong language; Loud noises and gunshot sounds; Prolonged periods of darkness; Images which some may find disturbing.
Performance Timings
Monday - 19:30
Tuesday - 19:30
Wednesday - 19:30
Thursday 14:30 19:30
Friday - 19:30
Saturday 14:30 19:30
Sunday - -
Show Info

Book The Jungle Tickets




“Brimful of hope, humour and humanity,” (Metro) Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s debut full-length play tells the stories of loss, fear, community and hope in The Jungle refugee camp just across the Channel in Calais. Coming to the Playhouse Theatre following its five-star Off West End run, the venue has been transformed for The Jungle to mimic the intimate in-the-round seating of Miriam Buether’s critically-acclaimed Young Vic design.

This is the place where people suffered and dreamed. Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of The Jungle. Discover how the Calais camp was created - and how its eventual destruction came about. Join the residents over freshly baked naan and sweet milky chai at the Afghan Café, and experience the intense, moving and uplifting encounters between refugees from numerous countries and the volunteers who arrived from the UK.

Audiences are invited to choose from two unique experiences: take a seat at the benches and tables of the vibrant and bustling café at the heart of the Calais Jungle, or watch from ‘The Cliffs of Dover’ in the circle, overlooking the dynamic performance space below. Wherever you sit, prepare to be transported into the world of the Calais camp, where a community forged from necessity shares its unimaginable stories of hope against all odds.

This show is "exuberant, full of music and movement” (Time Out), an epic tale and a unique theatrical experience of national significance that you don’t want to miss.

The Jungle Synopsis 

Okot, a Sudanese refugee, has been to hell and back. He wants nothing more than to get to the UK and Beth wants nothing more than to help him. She is one of the many good-willed but helpless British volunteers, like Sam, Derek and Paula, attempting to help the members of The Jungle. Also found in the camp is Salar, an Afhgan refugee, who runs a prosperous restaurant and Safi, the well-educated and sympathetic Syrian host, who fled the horrors of Aleppo.

This intimate production has been described as a “devastating, uplifting show” by The Guardian: where worlds collide, in the worst places, you meet the best people.

The Jungle Child Policy

Suitable For Children| Age Guidance: 12+

Important Information 

The auditorium has been transformed into the world of the Afghan Café in the Calais Jungle. The Calais camp was largely organised by nationality, and the auditorium space has been designed to reflect this.’

Due to the nature of the performance space you may be asked to check bags and coats into our free cloakroom. No latecomers are permitted. If you leave your seat during the performance you may be prevented from readmission to the auditorium.

Please note, this production contains the following:

Smoke effects; Strobe/ flashing lights; Cigarette smoking; Strong language; Loud noises and gunshot sounds; Prolonged periods of darkness; Images which some may find disturbing.

Important information

Running time
Booking Until
Sat, 3 November 2018

The Jungle Cast

By: Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson
Producer: Commissioned by the National Theatre in a co-production with the Young Vic, brought to the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Tom Kirdahy ad Hunter Arnold
Director: Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin
Lighting: Jon Clark
Sound: Paul Arditti
Design: Miriam Buether
Costume: Catherine Kodicek

Cast List

The majority of the original cast will transfer with the production, including actors from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through The Jungle.  The full cast includes: Ammar Haj Ahmad, Mohammad Amiri, Girum Bekele, Elham Ehsas, Trevor Fox, Moein Ghobsheh, Ansu Kabia, Alex Lawther, John Pfumojena, Rachel Redford, Rachid Sabitri, Mohamed Sarrar, Ben Turner and Nahel Tzegai.

The Jungle Critics & Reviews

Critics rating: *****
Review by: Will Longman

It is so easy to feel disconnected from the world when we experience it from such a distance, watching the news on screens and scrolling through tweets simply exacerbates the sense that the world has no effect on you, nor you on it. A watershed moment during the European refugee crisis in 2015 was the photograph of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose drowned body washed up on a beach. It shocked the world and humanised the topic. Joes Murphy and Robertson’s vital play The Jungle also does just that, giving a voice and a story to a handful of the thousands of migrants who lived in the infamous Calais camp.

Informed by their experiences from running a theatre at the camp, the two young playwrights have chronicled the desperate, hopeful stories of the camp’s residents in what is a thoroughly affecting piece of theatre.

It’s West End theatre like you’ve never seen; the Playhouse has been completely remodelled to replicate the immersive set of the original Young Vic production last year. The stalls have become the café of Afghan refugee Salar (a temperate Ben Turner), the seats replaced with cushions and benches at which we some are served soup, rice and beans.

From the academics escaping violence in Aleppo to children fleeing for a better life, Murphy and Robertson expertly craft each emotive story, reminding you of this tragic reality. Running across motorways, hiding in railway tunnels, trekking across deserts just for the possibility of a better life.

There is also a conflict of culture. There are clashes in politics between mostly proud men from across the Middle East, but it also culminates in an explosion of hope, dance and song - including a couple of rousing renditions of “Glory, Glory Man United”. It may seem trivial to point out, but it’s perhaps the trivial details like this which remind you how focussed on getting to the UK these people really are. They are willing to risk their freedoms and their lives night after night to break into the back of a lorry and at the very least try for a better life. It’s unfathomable.

Stephen Daldry’s relentless production manages to make you like a helpless onlooker at the camp. The action takes place all around Miriam Buether’s incredibly authentic set, with actors weaving in and out of the audience, but there are more theatrical moments, like an intense monologue from Okot (a superb John Pfumojena), one refugee who tells us why he tries to cross the Channel to Britain every single night.

The play also highlights the role of the (mostly) insufferably middle-class English volunteers who felt they ‘just had to do something’. While at first it seems like they simply wanted another feather in their cap – like Sam, the Eton student who sees the camp as an excellent opportunity for a housing project. But to be fair, all five stick around for months and their urgency about the crisis is clear. (And an awkward Alex Lawther as Sam cements his place as one of the most exciting young talents around.)

While every effort has been made to recreate the set for the Young Vic, there is an addition: the dress circle has been opened up and renamed the ‘Cliffs of Dover’. They loom over the action with two screens relaying some of the action live. Just like many of us during the actual events, they are so close to the action, but never quite as involved.

Robertson and Murphy do well to avoid the play coming across as preachy, they let the audience feel by simply telling the story. This does stray slightly towards the end as the audience is played a clip from a volunteer currently working in Calais, but even so, it goes to prove just how current this issue still is, and why you need to see this play now.

The Guardian *****

The Jungle review – vital drama of hope and despair at the Calais camp
Playhouse theatre, London

This vivid recreation of life in the sprawling refugee camp is a priceless piece of theatre that enlarges our understanding while appealing to our emotions.

This is that rare thing: a necessary piece of theatre. It is the work of Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, who created Good Chance theatre in the refugee camp at Sangatte, Calais, that became known as the Jungle. It not only offers, in a superb production by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, a vivid recreation of lived experience but leaves you pondering how the world should address what is seen as the migrant crisis.

First seen at the Young Vic last year, the production has moved into the West End of London with its vital organs intact. Miriam Buether’s design transforms the stalls of this jewel-like theatre into the camp’s Afghan Cafe, where we sit round long, rough tables that become walkways for the actors. While the space seethes with activity, there is also a clear shape to the play. Starting with a funeral and the threatened eviction of the camp’s inhabitants in October 2016, it goes back in time to trace the site’s growth over 18 months. We see how a random, multinational mix of refugees turns into a town of more than 6,000 citizens living with a daily sense of hope and desperation.

The whole play is built around a shrewd balance of opposites. Optimism is embodied in the personality of Safi, a former literature student from Aleppo, Syria, who finds in the camp “more hope than you’ve seen in all lifetimes”. That is offset by the harrowing memories of 17-year-old Okot, who has made the tortuous journey from Darfur, Sudan, and who declares “a refugee dies many times”. It is a sign of the play’s careful structure that these two are left to compete for a place in a smuggler’s lorry, where possession of an onion, to deter guard dogs, is the only guarantee of survival.

Murphy and Robertson create a series of mounting contradictions. Salar’s Afghan Cafe, given a four-star review by AA Gill, represents the human capacity for resilience: meanwhile one of Salar’s compatriots constantly complains about inadequate sanitation. The presence of voluntary UK helpers also provokes wildly different reactions: initially resented as interlopers, their efforts in home-building, childcare and education are, in the end, gladly received. But the biggest conflict of all comes in the fierce internal debate over whether to accept a French offer of relocation or fight to preserve the existing, self-made community.

If I was overwhelmed by the play, it is because it raises a host of issues and because the production itself seems a mix of the structured and the spontaneous: the evening blends order and chaos, reflections and rants, songs and scuffles in astonishing profusion. It is also powerfully performed. Ammar Haj Ahmad (Safi), John Pfumojena (Okot), Ben Turner (Salar) speak for the camp’s occupants; Alex Lawther (an Etonian posh boy), Rachel Redford (a teenage teacher), Jo McInnes (a free-swearing child protector) for the volunteers. The result is one of those priceless evenings that enlarges our understanding while appealing to our emotions.

By :Michael Billington

Ref Link : The Guardian 


This smash drama about the Calais Jungle is powerful but not without its problems

AA Gill reviewed Salar's Afghan Restaurant in the Calais Jungle. He gave it four stars – apparently the chicken livers were a delight. This little nugget of information feels deeply ironic when it pops up in this immersive show – which has transferred from the Young Vic and now fills a West End venue with a meticulous recreation of the restaurant, and its place at the heart of refugee camp life. Paying audiences sit at long benches, sip chai tea and get swept up in the fraught energy and unlikely joys of life in the now-demolished refugee encampment.

Is it voyeuristic? Yes. But it's also an intelligent satire of how the Calais Jungle became, for its year in existence, a kind of repository for the utopian scheming, hapless curiosity, adventurous instincts and need for escape of the many British people who flocked there to ‘help’.

Directors Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin create a vivid sense of all the communities living side by side in this small, densely-inhabited patch of French ground, all narrated by wise, accidental leader Safi (Ammar Haj Ahmad).

There's Salar and his restaurant, a recreation of his beloved lost business in Kabul. A gaggle of teenage boys who spend their nights (like everyone else in the camp) trying desperately to stow away in a car or lorry to cross the border, and their days at an English school run by Beth, a well-meaning 18-year-old from the Home Counties. Eritrean Christians - who run both a chapel, and a nightclub where British volunteers get sloshed. And the brattish, but terrifyingly efficient Sam (Alex Lawther), who spends every waking hour mapping the site and building houses: the colonial resonances aren't lost in co-authors Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson's intricate, knowing play.

Not to be that person, but I did – in between the exhilarating scenes of fevered dancing, singing and drumming, in between the desperate factional squabbles and tense struggles and heartbreaking stories – feel a level of discomfort with the fact that this whole spectacle was engineered by two white writers, and two white directors. It's a show that zooms in on British people’s flawed attempts to make sense of a crisis that’s at least partly of their own government’s making. But it also uses mawkish devices that feel calculated to get a British audience to react in a certain way. Like the singing of carols, and ‘Jerusalem’, the explication-heavy passages where refugees tell white volunteers about their experiences, and the often-mawkish use of a cute little girl refugee to hammer the pathos home.

It's a show that centres universality over difference and foreignness. Like a restaurant does, I guess, by bringing different cultures to the same table. Where ‘The Jungle’ shines is in showing the clash of world-building optimism and utter desperation behind this contested, now lost patch of Calais: but perhaps its determined comprehensiveness means that these refugees’ individual, painful narratives are blurred into one cry of pain.


Ref Link : Time Out
Venue Info

Playhouse Theatre

Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE


Playhouse Theatre

Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE

Designed by Blow and Billerey in 1907 after the original theatre was destroyed. The Theatre is currently owned by Ambassador Theatre Group.

The theatre was initiated in 1882 by Sefton Parry, a speculative theatre builder, who bought the site hoping it would have to be purchased from him by the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company, whose terminus was alongside. The Royal Avenue Theatre opened on 11 March 1882 with a revival of Offenbach's Madam Favart. The prefix Royal was soon dropped from the theatre's name, but comic operas, burlesques and the like remained the staple fare for several years. For much of this time, Arthur Roberts, a popular star of the music halls, led the company at the Avenue.

In the early 1890s the emphasis changed to drama and in 1894 Miss Horniman, the tea heiress, later a pioneer of the repertory movement, anonymously sponsored the actress Florence Farr in a season of plays. Sadly, the first production failed but Miss Farr persuaded her friend, a certain George Bernard Shaw, to finish his play, Arms and the Man, as a speedy replacement and his first West End production. It was successful enough to allow him to drop his music criticism in favour of play writing.

The theatre was rebuilt in 1905 to the designs of Blow & Billerey. During the work, part of the roof of the adjacent Charing Cross railway station collapsed. The roof and girders fell across the train lines but part of the stations western wall also fell and crashed through the roof and wall of the theatre. This resulted in the deaths of three people in the station, and three workmen who working on the site of theatre and injured many more. The theatre was repaired and re-opened as the Playhouse Theatre on 28th January 1907 with a one act play called The Drums of Oudh and a play called Toddles, by Tristan Bernard and Andre Godfernaux.

Since then, the beautiful Playhouse has hosted the likes of WS Gilbert, legendary actress-manager Gladys Cooper, the BBC, The Almeida Theatre Company, The Peter Hall Company, and Janet McTeer. In January 2003, Maidstone Productions became the new independent owners of the Theatre. Maidstone Productions, belonging to London and Broadway producers Ted and Norman Tulchin, has been behind a string of hit productions on both sides of the Atlantic, including Gagarin Way, Eden and Vincent in Brixton in the West End; Yazmina Reza's The Unexpected Man, as well as Donald Margulies' Dinner with Friends, which won the Pulitzer Prize. This was in addition to Turgenev's Fortune's Fool on Broadway, starring Alan Bates and Frank Langella, both winning Tony Awards for best actor and best supporting actor.

The Ambassador Theatre Group have maintained stewardship of the Playhouse Theatre since 2003 and have recently acquired 100% ownership from it’s partners Maidstone Productions. Recent productions include Richard Eyre's production Vincent in Brixton starring Clare Higgins and Journey's End directed by David Grindley. The theatre has most recently been home to La Cage Aux Folles, Dreamboats & Petticoats, The Mystery of Charles Dickens - Simon Callow’s one man show. The Playhouse is currently home to ATG’s hugely successful production of Monty Python’s Spamalot by Eric Idle, which has starred Marcus Brigstocke, Jon Culshaw and Stephen Tompkinson, Warwick Davis, Les Dennis and most recently BBC’s Dick and Dom.

Access description: Level access through double doors opening outwards from the pavement. Box Office on the left, then 3 shallow steps up to foyer. No further steps into Stalls seating. 28 steps up to Dress Circle and 82 steps up to Upper Circle. Staircases have highlights and hand rails. Hard flooring in foyer for wheelchairs. Theatre opens 30min before performance.

Sound Amplification: Induction loop system at Box Office. Infra-red system in auditorium. 11 headsets and 3 loops.

Guide Dogs: Guide dogs are allowed inside the auditorium. Staff also available to dog-sit in foyer or Box Office.

Disabled Access: Contact the Box Office in advance so that the ramp (steep) can be placed over the 3 shallow steps inside the main entrance. No steps to the Stalls, which are on a shallow rake. 2 spaces for wheelchair users at G1 and G24. Companions can sit in same row. Scooter users can access the foyer and stalls, but must transfer. Transfer seating available to any Stalls aisle seat. Each wheelchair user must bring a non-disabled companion.

Toilets: Toilets off the restaurant bar, the Royal Circle and the Upper Circle.

Disabled Toilets: Adapted toilet in foyer to the right of the Stalls entrance.

Facilities At Playhouse Theatre 

Seat plan: Playhouse Theatre Seat Plan
Facilities: Air conditioned
Disabled toilets
Infrared hearing loop
Wheelchair accessible

Nearest tube: Embankment
Tube lines: District, Bakerloo, Northern, Circle
Location: West End
Railway station: Charing Cross
Bus numbers: (Whitehall) 3, 12, 24, 53, 88, 91, 159, 453; (Strand) 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 29, 87, 139, 176
Night bus numbers: (Whitehall) 12, 53, 88, 159, 453, N2, N3, N5, N18, N20, N44, N52, N91, N97, N109, N136, N381; (Strand) 6, 23, 139, 176, N9, N11, N13, N15, N21, N26, N29, N47, N87, N89, N155, N343, N550, N551
Car park: Trafalgar (10mins)
Within congestion zone?: Yes
Directions from tube: (2mins) Follow Embankment Place right under the bridge; turn right onto Northumberland Avenue and you’ll see the theatre.


The Jungle Photo Gallery