Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem – Rachel Tookey’s award-winning play about the intergenerational impact of mental illness and trauma – will have its first full-length London run at the Old Red Lion Theatre, coinciding with UK Mental Health Awareness Week.
The show follows three family members along three separate timelines, each detailing their own personal struggle with mental illness.
Christmas Eve. 1948. Deep in the heart of Galway, Eamonn, the fattest baby you’ve ever seen, is found abandoned in a manger.
70 years later, after struggling to make amends with his estranged daughter Sarah and grandson Ben, one final and fateful action leaves the next two generations of his family reeling.
These timelines intertwine and merge to show how each family member’s experience of mental illness haunts the others.
Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem explores the little-known but urgent issue of how mental illness can spread throughout multiple generations, creating fresh trauma in a society unforgiving of those who do not fit the mould.
The story was inspired by the family of playwright Rachel Tookey; her grandmother’s early life in an abusive Irish Catholic orphanage, the suicides of her aunt and uncle, and her own struggles with mental health issues while a student.
The play was the winner of the prestigious Methuen Drama/Marlowe Society ‘Other Prize’. Tookey’s work has been presented in venues, such as Southwark Playhouse, the Lyric Hammersmith, the Etcetera Theatre, and New York’s Kraine Theater. Her first play Judge Judy’s Buzz World won the Footlights’ Harry Porter Prize before transferring to the Camden Fringe, where it received critical acclaim.
When: 30th April – 25th May 2019
Where: Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ
£: Tickets cost £18 or £14 for concessions. Discounts available for selected preview shows and matinee performances