Set in a University town that resembles Cambridge or Oxford, The Philanthropist takes place over 24 hours and follows a group of young academics. Philip, the floundering professor of philology, receives a variety of visitors to his rooms, but in the outside world, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been assassinated! As England's most treasured writers begin, also, to drop like flies, Philip and his companions continue to deliberate over sex, marriage and the meaning of life, which begs the question – how out of touch are academics?
The Inbetweeners actor Simon Bird stars as Philip, alongside Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner) as best friend Donald, Charlotte Ritchie (Call the Midwife, Fresh Meat) as fiancée Celia, Lily Cole (St Trinian's) as Araminta, BAFTA winning actor Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh) as egomaniacal novelist Braham.
Simon Callow directs, with previous successes including the musical Carmen Jones, Shirley Valentine and Alan Bennett's Single Spies. The Philanthropist is one of Christopher Hampton's most celebrated plays, with further works including the heralded Les Liaisons Dangereuses, as well as translations of Yasmin Reza's Art and Florian Zeller's The Father, The Mother and The Truth.
Described as a “bitingly bourgeois comedy”, this production features actors at the age they were originally intended to play the roles. The Philanthropist opens at Trafalgar Studios on April 20th and plays until July 22nd 2017, with previews beginning April 3rd 2017.