written and directed by Ross McGregor produced by Christopher Tester for Arrows & Traps Theatre
What a sad business, being funny Limelight (1952)
For over 100 years, Charlie Chaplin has been the world’s best-loved clown. His brilliant comic creation of “The Little Tramp” is the first and most recognisable cinematic icon in history. But his remarkable story of stardom and success has a darker side.
Raised in the horrific, grinding poverty of a Victorian slum, Charlie never knew the security of a stable family. Whilst his parents destroyed themselves with disastrous ambition and unshakeable vice, Charlie was thrown at the mercy of the workhouse. Desperate to escape his feral existence on the streets of South London, Charlie became captivated by the shining lights of music hall, and gradually began to see a way out.
Critically-acclaimed Arrows & Traps return with an examination of the relationship between experience and creativity, and invite you to discover how Chaplin spun personal tragedy into universal comedy, in a psychological exploration of one of the world’s most remarkable lives.
This production is being produced with the full endorsement of the Chaplin Estate and the Chaplin Family.
This production gets it right in every way… we certainly advise beating your way to the box office to see it! ★★★★★ London Living Large
The production combines moments of pure naturalism: touching, honest, thought-provoking moments in Chaplin’s life, alongside trademark physical movement scenes where we see the grind of the workhouse, the brilliant mirroring of the two Charlies and the final beautifully executed dance with a bowler hat. Interwoven in a seamlessly slick fashion we watch mesmerized as this story unfolds…this show leaves you laughing, crying but ultimately humbled by the genius of a man who believed that all you need to make comedy is a park bench, a policeman and a pretty girl. ★★★★★ Sardines Magazine
All told, Chaplin: Birth of a Tramp really was excellent from start to the very powerful, and still relevant, ending. It is extremely well written, produced and acted and shines a welcome light on the life and, at times, the inner turmoil of one of the world’s most beloved entertainers. ★★★★★ London Theatre 1
Ross McGregor and Arrows and Traps Theatre have done it again! Official associates of the Jack Studio, the company creates intricate, layered plays that take a sideways look at figures of history or classical tales. ★★★★★ London Pub Theatres
There are, as always with Arrows & Traps, magical sequences choreographed to differing music styles that evoke the cruelty of the workhouse, the madness of the music hall and the rapid production style of silent movies with humour and pathos. The cast all give outstanding performances, but Clare Aster’s heart breaking portrayal will haunt you and Lucy Ioannou is simply phenomenal as the Tramp, making a brilliantly choreographed and nuanced performance seem instinctive and spontaneous, just like the great man himself. An enthralling and emotive production with an unforgettable central performance – another unmissable show from Arrows & Traps. ★★★★★ Fairy Powered Productions
a glorious dance of creativity, melancholia, family and the precious power of expression. ★★★★★ Vincent’s Views
The play is – as ever – incredibly well written, skilfully weaving timelines and plot threads together, but in Chaplin, fittingly, it’s not so much the words as the performances that lift the show to a whole new level. If you’ve ever wondered how this particular legend was born, this play offers a fascinating, entertaining and surprisingly poignant way to find out. Theatre Things UK
This is an innovative production of a new work which does throw light on one of the great personalities of the 20th-century and provides an excellent evening of theatre. ★★★★ North West End
what lingers from McGregor’s production is an aching fondness for The Little Tramp. This is thanks in no small part to the beautifully detailed performance from Lucy Ioannou, who retains Chaplin’s recognisable childlike qualities as she transforms young Charlie into The Little Tramp. British Theatre Guide
The script and direction is marvellous and the cast grab it with both hands to make this show a must-see Southwark News
Press for previous productions
clever and compelling take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel… an incredibly well thought out piece of theatre that grips and entertains the whole way through. ★★★★★ Spy in the Stalls on The Strange Case of Jekyll & Hyde
McGregor the writer has created a modern masterpiece, full of unexpected twists and turns… Performances from the cast of five are uniformly excellent… A triumph. ★★★★★ Stage Review on The Strange Case of Jekyll & Hyde
Ross McGregor’s spellbinding biopic is visceral, delectable, and true… Taro joins physical theatre legends Gecko and Frantic Assembly in its ability to thrill and engage its audience. Packed with sentimentality and warmth, Gerda Taro’s legacy is one to be remembered for generations to come. ★★★★★ The Upcoming
the most excruciatingly funny fringe comedy I’ve ever reviewed.★★★★★ Everything Theatre on Gospel According to Philip
this is theatrical storytelling of the highest calibre… Arrows & Traps have, once again, breathed wonderful new life into a classic with a production full of surprises, thrills and chills. Get a ticket while you can. ★★★★★ Fairy Powered Productions on Frankenstein
The White Rose really is a production where everything has come together beautifully… it cannot be faulted and, If I had my way, a pretty sharpish transfer to the West End would definitely follow this run at the Jack ★★★★★ Lastminute Theatre Tickets
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