Wise Children Tickets

Old Vic Theatre Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8NB
Important Info
Wise Children Child Policy 

Suitable for ages 14+ .

Important Information

This production contains some sexual content, swearing and adult themes throughout.
The appearance of any particular artist cannot be guaranteed. If in doubt please check with the Box Office before booking.
Performance Timings
Monday - 19:30
Tuesday - 19:30
Wednesday 14:30 19:30
Thursday - 19:30
Friday - 19:30
Saturday - 19:30
Sunday - -
Show Info

Book Wise Children Tickets

‘Let’s have all the skeletons out of the closet, today, of all days!’ It’s 23 April, Shakespeare’s birthday.

In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance – twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river – are celebrating their 70th birthday.

Over the river in Chelsea, their father and greatest actor of his generation Melchior Hazard turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine. If, in fact, he’s still alive. And if, in truth, Melchior is their real father after all… A big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak, Wise Children is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand.

Emma Rice (Romantics Anonymous, Tristan & Yseult, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk and Brief Encounter) brings her unique, exuberantly impish vision to Angela Carter’s great last novel, Wise Children, launching her new theatre company of the same name and its London residency at The Old Vic.

An Old Vic and Wise Children production Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Oxford Playhouse and York Theatre Royal


Wise Children Child Policy 

Suitable for ages 14+ .

Important Information

This production contains some sexual content, swearing and adult themes throughout.
The appearance of any particular artist cannot be guaranteed. If in doubt please check with the Box Office before booking.

Important information

Running time
2hrs 10mins (excl. interval)
Booking Until
Sat, 10 November 2018

Wise Children Cast

Young Peregrine
Sam Archer

Young Melchior
Ankur Bahl

Stu Barker

Showgirl Nora
Omari Douglas

Young Nora
Mirabelle Gremaud

Alex Heane

Paul Hunter

Showgirl Dora
Melissa James

Young Dora
Bettrys Jones

Wheelchair/Lady Atalanta/Blue Eyed Boy
Patrycja Kujawska

Etta Murfitt

Grandma Chance
Katy Owen

Ian Ross

Mike Shepherd

Gareth Snook

Creative Team 

An Old Vic and Wise Children production

Written by
Angela Carter

Adapted and directed by
Emma Rice

Set and Costume Design
Vicki Mortimer

Malcolm Rippeth

Sound and Video Design
Simon Baker

Ian Ross

Etta Murfitt

Beth Carter and Stuart Mitchell

Puppetry Designer
Lyndie Wright

Puppetry Director
Sarah Wright

Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown

Wise Children Critics & Reviews

Wise Children by Angela Carter – vibrant, bawdy, life-affirming

This fictionalised showbiz memoir contains all the juicy Shakespearean tropes of ambition, greed and revenge, expressed with a breathtaking lyricism

Stumbling across a well-thumbed copy of Angela Carter’s 1991 novel, Wise Children, in a secondhand bookshop, I was heartened – and a little saddened – to notice that I was not alone in choosing this title as a book to share. For written inside this particular paperback was the following inscription:



You often have to travel far from the self in order to truly find yourself. Your journey to these alien lands is underway now. So go out there searching for the truth and returned enriched.

You have an immense amount of talent; don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise,

Happy travelling,

Love Phil

One can’t help feeling for poor Phil. Do I detect romantic overtones? Or something more paternal? Perhaps a parting of the ways? (Certainly, at least, a parting of the ways for Bridget and this copy of Wise Children.) Whatever the true story behind Phil’s message to Bridget may be, I am not surprised that the novel inspired such an earnest and heartfelt inscription, because Wise Children – Carter’s last and greatest novel – is a book I have forced upon friends and family members over the years and never fail to recommend if asked. I return to it every year or so, always to find myself newly impressed by its brilliance. A fictionalised showbiz memoir charting the slings and arrows inflicted on two very different branches of a once-great theatrical dynasty in London (the legitimate Hazards and the illegitimate Chances), there is a passage early on which, for me, encapsulates the enduring appeal of this novel.

The scene is 49 Bard Road, Brixton, present day (presumably circa 1991). It is a house that, like our narrator, Dora Chance, and her twin sister, Nora, has seen better days. On this particular day the Chance sisters happen to be celebrating their 75th birthdays:

Seventy-five, today, and a topsy-turvy day of wind and sunshine. The kind of wind that gets into the blood and drives you wild. Wild!

And I give a little shiver because suddenly I know, I know it in my ancient water, that something will happen today. Something exciting. Something nice, something nasty, I don’t give a monkey’s. Just as long as something happens to remind us we’re still in the land of the living.

What mainly happens is that Dora recounts her family history – one which contains all the juicy Shakespearean tropes of ambition, greed and revenge; fathers and daughters; brothers and sisters; twins, mistaken identity, incest and adultery. But beneath all this high melodrama, Wise Children is primarily a book about family and forgiveness; about love and loss; failure and success. Mostly, though, it is about life and living. In fact, with its irony-free leitmotif “What a joy it is to sing and dance!” I am hard-pressed to think of another book that is quite so life-affirming.

In Dora Chance, Angela Carter bequeathed to us one of the most distinctive, original narrative voices in modern English literature. It is wise, bawdy, vulgar, eloquent and very, very funny. (Wise Children is one of the all-time great comic novels – up there with the likes of the George and Weedon Grossmiths’ Diary of a Nobody, Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, and Martin Amis’s Money). And the writing is often breathtakingly lyrical, with passages of bravura that immediately send you back to their beginning just to make sure what you read really was just as good as first you thought:

“There was nothing so stuffy as the lives of small-time theatricals, in those days, and south London was a ghetto of chorus girls and boys and whatnot. In the semis, behind the dusty privet hedges, they rested between engagements, sitting on a piece of leatherette suite in the sitting room where the fumed oak sideboard contained a single bottle of sweet sherry and half a dozen dusty glasses stood on a tarnished silver tray inscribed, ‘To a great little trouper from the Merry Martins, Frinton-on-Sea, 1919,’ or something like that, beneath framed photographs of girls with big thighs in tights and men in crepe hair signed with Xs galore and framed colour reproductions on the walls of scenes depicting red-nosed monks eating big meals of venison and boar.

It is, of course, the saddest of ironies that such a life-affirming book was written as the author, unbeknownst to her, was dying of cancer. The book was published in 1991; Carter died in February 1992 at 51. And yet, such is the strength of the writing that Wise Children transcends this sad fact, and the comedy is never overshadowed by the tragedy. It is a masterpiece. Please share.

By :WB Gooderham

Ref Link : The Guardian
Venue Info

Old Vic Theatre

Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8NB


Old Vic Theatre

Address: 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB
Capacity: 1067

The Old Vic, originally named the Royal Coburg Theatre, was designed in 1818 by Rudolph Cabanel, where it stands now south-east of Waterloo Station. Its name was later changed to the Royal Victoria Theatre before it was rebuilt and renamed the Royal Victoria Hall in 1880, however at that time it was already nicknamed the “Old Vic” and officially adopted in 1925. Following the Second World War it was restored after air raid damage and became a Grade II listed building.

Historically, in 1824 the Old Vic brought legendary actor Edmund Kean to perform six Shakespeare plays in six nights. In 1963 the Old Vic became the core of the National Theatre of Great Britain, during its formation under Laurence Olivier and continued to hold The National Theatre until the move to South Bank in 1976. The Old Vic has housed acclaimed performances with such celebrated actors as John Gielgud’s Hamlet and Richard II in 1929, Laurence Olivier’s Macbeth and Othello in 1937, Richard Burton’s Hamlet, Judi Dench’s Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, which was privately performed to The Queen in 1957 and Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet in 1977.

More recently in 2003 Kevin Spacey was appointed the first Artistic Director of The Old Vic Theatre Company, a company, which has seen admired performances such as Aladdin with Ian McKellen in 2004, John Osborne’s The Entertainer in 2007, in the same year staging All About My Mother starring Mark Gatiss and Lesley Manville. It has also housed The Bridge Project: The Cheery Orchard & the Winter’s Tale with Simon Russell Beale (2009), Other Desert Cities (2014), Much Ado About Nothing directed by Mark Rylance in 2013, Hedda Gabler starring Sheridan Smith in 2012, which receved four star reviews. and Keven Spacey’s Richard III in 2011. In 2016 The Old Vic stages the world premiere of a new musical, Groundhog Day starring Andy Kar, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.


The auditorium has three levels - Stalls, Dress Circle and the Lilian Baylis Circle.

Despite the Dress Circle overhanging over Stalls row T, this doesn’t affect the view due to pillars. There is also a staggered rake that will be noticeable from row J to allow better viewing.

The Lilian Baylis Circle is high above the ground and overhangs the Dress Circle at row C meaning row E will miss the top of the stage. It should be noted that the two rows that extend along the sides of the theatre are padded concrete benches with only a rail to lean on. There is also standing seats available at the sides of this circle.

Facilities At Old Vic Theatre 

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

Access description: 
There is a ramp from street level into the foyer and the box office is on your right. Handrails are available on either side of the entrance. From the foyer there are seven steps into the Stalls (without handrails). There are 20+ steps to the Dress Circle and a further 20 steps to the Baylis Circle (with handrails). The theatre is open 1 hour before the performance.

Sound Amplification: Sennheiser infra-red system. A unit is required to be collected from the cloakroom for a £5 deposit (which will be refunded on return of the unit). 30+ units available, including in-ear types and loop units to be used with the T-setting/switch on hearing aids. Some seats are unsuitable for use with the units, please inform the box office at the time of booking if one is likely to be needed. Induction loop is available at the walk-up box office.

Guide Dogs: Guide dogs are allowed into the auditorium. Alternatively, staff can dog-sit. Pleae inform Box Office at time of booking.

Disabled Access: There is a ramp from street level into the foyer. One wheelchair position in Stalls seat N5, a companion can sit in N6. In the case of a transfer, the wheelchair will be stored in the adapted toilet which is next to the access door and close to the wheelchair position. Please discuss any access needs with the box office at the time of booking.

Toilets: There are men’s and women’s off the Pit bar, and 21 steps up from the Lilian Baylis bar.

Disabled Toilets: Adapted WC on the left inside the side entrance

Nearest tube: Waterloo
Tube lines: Waterloo & City, Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee
Location: West End
Railway station: Waterloo
Bus numbers: (Waterloo Road) 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 521, X68; (Mepham Street) 211, 243, 507
Night bus numbers: (Waterloo Road) 139, 176, 188, N1, N68, N171; (Mepham Street) 243
Car park: Waterloo Station (4mins)
Within congestion zone?: Yes
Directions from tube: (7mins) Take Mepham Street (100 metres) down to Waterloo Road. Turn right on Waterloo Road, but keep left as the theatre is 100 metres further along on the opposite corner.


Wise Children Photo Gallery