Skip to main content

Dear Octopus

by Dodie Smith

A woman in a brown long-sleeved dress stands, smiling, looking straight to camera. She is holding hands with a young girl who looks up at her. The blurred figures of five other people stand either side of them and the girl is also blurred.

Booking and details

7 February — 27 March 2024
This show has now ended
The event location is

Lyttelton Theatre

National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX

The family, from whose tentacles we can never quite escape

When a golden wedding anniversary reunites the Randolph family on the eve of WWII, Dora and Charles must reckon with the adults their children have become. Their children, meanwhile, are haunted by the memory of the family they once were.

As the weekend’s celebrations unfold, the family walks a tightrope between intimacy and estrangement, camaraderie and rivalry, love and hate.

Heartbreaking and joyful, this captivating revival of Dodie Smith’s (I Capture the Castle) play is a moving dissection of family and what it means to grow up and return home.

Lindsay Duncan (Hansard) plays Dora in this beautiful, contemporary production, directed by Emily Burns (Jack Absolute Flies Again).


‘This glorious revival is a visual and emotional feast.’



‘Poignant, exquisitely performed theatre.’

The Telegraph


‘Properly laugh-out-loud funny.’

London Theatre


‘Burns’ delicately acted staging coaxes you to fall for this fretful, funny bunch.’

Financial Times


A superb performance from Lindsay Duncan

The Independent


‘A touching celebration of enduring love, family and forgiveness.’

The Stage


‘Moving. A family that is utterly convincing.’



‘The writing is a joy. A tonic for our turbulent times.’

The Observer


Please note: this production contains themes of familial bereavement and death.



Two women and two men of different ages stand and sit on antique furniture in a living room. They all wear 1930s era clothing that is of a teal colour palette. Behind them is a piano and the wall is the same teal colour as the clothes.
Play Video


Play Video

Meet The Randolph Family

Cast includes

The role of Flouncy is played by:

Kalyani D’Ambra

Ariella Elkins-Green

Asha Sthanakiya

The role of Kathleen ‘Scrap’ Kenton is played by:

Serena Guo

Isla Ithier

Molly Jin

The role of Bill is played by:

Ashwin Sakthivel

Tarun Sivakanesh

Felix Tandon

Production team


Emily Burns

Emily Burns

Set and Costume Designer

Frankie Bradshaw

Frankie Bradshaw

Lighting Designer

Oliver Fenwick

Oliver Fenwick


Lucy Cullingford

Lucy Cullingford

Sound Designer

Tingying Dong

Tingying Dong


Nico Muhly

Nico Muhly

Music Director

David Shrubsole

David Shrubsole

Casting Director

Bryony Jarvis-Taylor

Company Voice Work

Shereen Ibrahim

Shereen Ibrahim

Company Voice Work

Liz Flint

Liz Flint

Staff Director

Júlia Levai

Júlia Levai

Associate Sound Designer

Joel Price

Joel Price

Ticket prices

Monday – Thursday evenings and all matinees:
£20, £36, £46, £66, £86, £96

Friday & Saturday evenings:
£20, £39, £49, £69, £89, £99

Previews 7 – 12 February:
£20, £30, £36, £46, £56, £76

For concessions and discounts, see Ways to save

Please note the 6.30pm start time on the following performances: Tue 20 Feb, Thu 29 Feb, Tue 5 Mar and Thu 14 Mar.

Visit our Ticketing FAQs for information on how to book, ticket exchanges and more.

Prices may change according to demand

Assisted performances

The interpreter for the BSL performance will be Taz Hockaday.

Audio-described performances are preceded by a Touch Tour, 90 minutes before the performance start time. Call the Access line on 020 7452 3961 to book Touch Tours.

We have an allocation of tickets held for members of our Access scheme and if any of the assisted performances above are shown as “Sold Out”, tickets may still be available: Please log in to your account to view all available tickets, or call Box Office on 020 7452 3961

Smart caption glasses

Are planned to be available for performances of Dear Octopus from 7.30pm, Wednesday 21 February.



Photography (Lindsay Duncan) by Kelvin Murray.