Winner – Critic Circle Award and Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Most Promising Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Winner of 2 Off West End Awards
Best Director | Best Male – Ken Nwosu | Best Female – Vivian Oparah

Transfering to the National Theatre in June 2018. Find out more

“both infinitely playful and deeply serious and which dazzlingly questions the nature of theatrical illusion… an extraordinary play that defies categorisation and that proclaims Jacobs-Jenkins as an exciting new dramatist” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“It’s messy, inspired, invigorating” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“a dazzling deconstruction of racial representation” Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage

“It’s bold, fearless playwrighting: laughing in the face of racism as well as allowing the horror of history to spell itself out.” Holly Williams, Time Out 

“a playful provocativeness… This is an energising production, unafraid of madcap messiness” Paul Taylor, The Independent

“Ripping up the rule book… Ned Bennett meets the audaciousness of the writing with a reckless bravura all his own” Matt Wolf, New York Times

What you gonna do once you free? You just gonna walk up in somebody house and be like,‘Hey. I’m a slave. Help me?’

“The play uses the plot of the Irish playwright Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama The Octoroon…as the starting point for a bigger, wilder, more hilarious play about the tremendous, often tragic difficulties of identity, and life, for us all.” The New Yorker

Judge Peyton is dead, and his plantation Terrebonne is in financial ruins. Peyton’s handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent, and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful ‘octoroon’*. But, the dastardly M’Closky has other plans — for both Terrebonne and Zoe.

The European premiere of the OBIE Award-winning play by Pulitzer Prize nominee Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

LISTEN to an exclusive podcast with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins talking about the play

Ned Bennett returns to the Orange Tree to direct following Pomona, which transferred to the National Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre.

“A wildly imaginative new work” Village Voice, New York

“coruscating comedy of unresolved history… may turn out to be this decade’s most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today” Ben Brantley, New York Times

“So energetic, funny, and entertainingly demented, you can’t look away” New York Post

*an octoroon is a person of one-eighth black ancestry

Estimated running time 2 hours 30 minutes, including an interval

Contains strong language that some may find offensive language, strobe effects, water-based haze and smoking

Publicity and production photos by The Other Richard

Emmanuella Cole
Cassie Clare
Celeste Dodwell
Iola Evans
Ken Nwosu
Alistair Toovey
Vivian Oparah
Kevin Trainor
DirectorNed Bennett
DesignerGeorgia Lowe
Lighting DesignerElliot Griggs