HAMPSTEAD DOWNSTAIRS / CELIA ATKIN PRESENT

THE ART OF ILLUSION

WRITTEN BY ALEXIS MICHALIK
TRANSLATED BY WALEED AKHTAR
DIRECTED BY TOM JACKSON GREAVES

It’s a matter of perception. The hands of time turn at the same speed for everyone. Yet a child waits what seems to be an eternity for summer, whilst an old man watches a year pass in the blinking of an eye

Downstairs

Choose a date and select your own seats online

17 Dec 2022 - 28 Jan 2023

Box Office: 020 7722 9301

Details

In 1984, as the France vs Yugoslavia match unfolds on TV, a man meets a woman in a Parisian café. He is returning a bag that she lost in the metro, but he doesn’t tell her he stole it… Instead, he tells her the story of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, watchmaker, inventor, and master magician of the 19th century. Together they set out to find a vanished theatre beneath a bank vault in the Boulevard des Italiens, to break into a museum in the Trocadero, to uncover the mystery of the Mechanical Turk, to witness the birth of the kinetograph… and to delve ever deeper into the Art of Illusion.

Alexis Michalik’s The Art of Illusion won three Molière Awards when it premiered in 2014. A Franco-British actor, writer and director, his other plays include Le Porteur d’histoire, Edmond and Intra Muros.

Waleed Akhtar’s writing for theatre includes The P Word (Bush) and Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan (Brixton House/Mercury Theatre and HighTide).

Tom Jackson Greaves is a director and choreographer whose recent work has included Whistle down the Wind; The Jungle Book (Watermill); Rent (Hope Mill Theatre); Amelie (West End) and Priscilla Queen of the Desert (UK tour).

The cast features: Rina Fatania (Favour, Clean Break Company, Bush; Sheila’s Island, UK tour; NW Trilogy, Kiln), Martin Hyder (My Brilliant Friend, National TheatreDead Dog in A Suitcase (And Other Love Songs), Kneehigh UK Tour; The Culture, Hull Truck), Bettrys Jones (Red Ellen, Northern Stage; Bagdad Café, Old Vic; Wise Children, Old Vic), Norah Lopez Holden (Hamlet, Young Vic; Equus, Theatre Royal, Stratford East; The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's Globe), Brian Martin (Distinguished Villa and Jane Clegg, both Finborough; King John, RSC); The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Noël Coward) and Kwaku Mills (King Lear, Shakespeare’s Globe; Queer Upstairs, Royal Court; Perspective, National Theatre).

 


Our promise to you

In the event of The Art of Illusion being postponed, you can choose between a full refund or credit to be used for any show at Hampstead.

As always, our audience, company and staff are our top priority. For more information about how we’re keeping you safe, please click here.

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Dates
Sat 17 Dec 19:45 PREVIEW Sold Out
Mon 19 Dec 19:45 PREVIEW Sold Out
Tue 20 Dec 19:45 PREVIEW Sold Out
Wed 21 Dec 19:45 PREVIEW Sold Out
Thu 22 Dec 19:45 PREVIEW Sold Out
Fri 23 Dec 19:45 Book now
Sat 24 Dec 14:45 Book now
Mon 26 Dec 19:45 Sold Out
Tue 27 Dec 19:45 Sold Out
Wed 28 Dec 19:45 Book now
Thu 29 Dec 14:45 Limited Availability Book now
Thu 29 Dec 19:45 Book now
Fri 30 Dec 19:45 Book now
Sat 31 Dec 14:45 Book now
Sat 31 Dec 19:45 Book now
Mon 02 Jan 19:45 Book now
Tue 03 Jan 19:00 PRESS NIGHT 1 Book now
Wed 04 Jan 19:00 PRESS NIGHT 2 Sold Out
Thu 05 Jan 14:45 Book now
Thu 05 Jan 19:45 Book now
Fri 06 Jan 19:45 Book now
Sat 07 Jan 14:45 Book now
Sat 07 Jan 19:45 Book now
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Wed 11 Jan 19:45 Book now
Thu 12 Jan 14:45 Book now
Thu 12 Jan 19:45 Book now
Fri 13 Jan 19:45 Book now
Sat 14 Jan 14:45 Book now
Sat 14 Jan 19:45 Limited Availability Book now
Mon 16 Jan 19:45 Book now
Tue 17 Jan 19:45 Book now
Wed 18 Jan 19:45 Book now
Thu 19 Jan 14:45 Book now
Thu 19 Jan 19:45 PATRONS EVENING, POST SHOW DISCUSSION Sold Out
Fri 20 Jan 19:45 Book now
Sat 21 Jan 14:45 Book now
Sat 21 Jan 19:45 Book now
Mon 23 Jan 19:45 Book now
Tue 24 Jan 19:45 PATRONS EVENING, POST SHOW DISCUSSION Sold Out
Wed 25 Jan 19:45 CAPTIONED Book now
Thu 26 Jan 14:45 CAPTIONED Book now
Thu 26 Jan 19:45 Book now
Fri 27 Jan 19:45 Book now
Sat 28 Jan 14:45 Book now
Sat 28 Jan 19:45 Book now
Cast

Artistic team

WRITER

ALEXIS MICHALIK

translator

WALEED AKHTAR

DIRECTOR

TOM JACKSON GREAVES

DESIGNER

SIMON KENNY

lighting

MATT HASKINS

SOUND

YVONNE GILBERT

illusion consultant

BEN HART

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

SAM EDMUNDS

 

stage manager

MADDY WADE

Cast

News

A CUP OF TEA WITH TOM JACKSON GREAVES

Posted on 14 November 2022

We caught up with The Art of Illusion director Tom Jackson Greaves, to talk advice, artistic influences, and his play opening at Hampstead Theatre on 17 December.

HAMPSTEAD THEATRE ANNOUNCES FOUR NEW PLAYS

Posted on 16 September 2022

'“Our autumn/winter season celebrates Hampstead’s cosmopolitan roots with a range of international playwrights from Scotland to the USA, Northern Ireland to France and some great homegrown talent in between.'

Tickets

First five performances: All tickets £5
Performances thereafter: £20
Seniors*: £12 (matinee only)
Under 30s and Students: £10
Emergency Services/NHS Workers: £10
Access: £10

*Ages 60+

Content Warnings

Please note that our content warnings evolve as the production does throughout rehearsal and previews, so there may be changes made between booking and attending the theatre. If you would like to speak to a member of our team about specific themes or concerns, please call the Box Office on 020 7722 9301 or email boxoffice@hampsteadtheatre.com

Video and Image Gallery

TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR) Photo by Chiara Wakely TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) Photo by Chiara Wakely BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER)Photo by Chiara Wakely
TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR) Photo by Chiara Wakely TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR)Photo by Chiara Wakely
RINA FATANIA (CATHERINE), KWAKU MILLS (JEAN) & NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES) RINA FATANIA (CATHERINE), KWAKU MILLS (JEAN) & NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES)
TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR) Photo by Chiara Wakely TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR)Photo by Chiara Wakely
KWAKU MILLS (JEAN) & BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) Photo by Chiara Wakely KWAKU MILLS (JEAN) & BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) & DAVID LANGHAM (WATCHMAKER) Photo by Chiara Wakely BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) & DAVID LANGHAM (WATCHMAKER)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) & BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) Photo by Chiara Wakely BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) & BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) & DAVID LANGHAM Photo by Chiara Wakely BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) & DAVID LANGHAM Photo by Chiara Wakely
RINA FATINA (CATHERINE), NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES), BETTRYS JONES (APRIL), BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) & DAVID LANGHAM Photo by Chiara Wakely RINA FATINA (CATHERINE), NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES), BETTRYS JONES (APRIL), BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) & DAVID LANGHAMPhoto by Chiara Wakely
MARTIN HYDER (WATCHMAKER) Photo by Chiara Wakely MARTIN HYDER (WATCHMAKER)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER), BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) & DAVID LANGHAM (WATCHMAKER) BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER), BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) & DAVID LANGHAM (WATCHMAKER)
TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR) Photo by Chiara Wakely TOM JACKSON GREAVES (DIRECTOR)Photo by Chiara Wakely
NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES) & KWAKU MILLS (JEAN) Photo by Chiara Wakely NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES) & KWAKU MILLS (JEAN)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) Photo by Chiara Wakely BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER)Photo by Chiara Wakely
KWAKU MILLS (JEAN) Photo by Chiara Wakely KWAKU MILLS (JEAN)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) & BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) Photo by Chiara Wakely BRIAN MARTIN (DECEMBER) & BETTRYS JONES (APRIL)Photo by Chiara Wakely
BETTRYS JONES (APRIL) Photo by Chiara Wakely BETTRYS JONES (APRIL)Photo by Chiara Wakely
RINA FATANIA (CATHERINE) Photo by Chiara Wakely RINA FATANIA (CATHERINE)Photo by Chiara Wakely
DAVID LANGHAM, RINA FATANIA (CATHERINE) & NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES) DAVID LANGHAM, RINA FATANIA (CATHERINE) & NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES)
NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES) Photo by Chiara Wakely NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN (GEORGES)Photo by Chiara Wakely
MARTIN HYDER (WATCHMAKER) Photo by Chiara Wakely MARTIN HYDER (WATCHMAKER)Photo by Chiara Wakely

KEEPING YOU SAFE AT HAMPSTEAD

1 Social Distanced 1

RESPECT PERSONAL SPACE

2 MASKS REQUIRED 1

FACE MASKS ENCOURAGED

4 STATE OF THE ART VENTILATION 1

STATE OF THE ART VENTILATION

5 ENHANCED CLEANING 1

ENHANCED CLEANING

7 CONTACTLESS TICKETS 1

CONTACTLESS TICKETS

8 HAND SANITIZING STATIONS 2

HAND SANITISING STATIONS

9 CASHLESS PAYMENT 1

CASHLESS PAYMENT