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Absolute Hell

by Rodney Ackland

From 18 April to 16 June 2018
Running Time: Approx. 3 hours, inc. a 15 min interval and a 5 min pause

4 star rating

An absolutely unmissable National Theatre production

Financial Times
4 star rating

Beautiful. A provocative study of '40s Soho nightlife. Kate Fleetwood and Charles Edwards are superb.

Time Out
4 star rating

Bold and ambitious. Superbly acted.

The Stage
4 star rating

Superb performances in a seedy Soho club

Radio Times
4 star rating

Masterful revival of a bold and brash play.

Gay Times

Sparkling and witty.


Expertly choreographed.

Evening Standard

There's gold here. Rodney Ackland is a master of human portraiture.

The Spectator

Absolute Hell

An intoxicating plunge into post-war Soho.

Bomb-blasted London. A Soho den in the hangover from World War II, where members drink into the darkness, night after night. Lying, fighting and seducing, these lost souls and bruised lovers struggle from the rubble of war towards an unknown future.

Absolute Hell, Rodney Ackland’s extraordinarily provocative play, was condemned as ‘a libel on the British people’ when first performed in 1952. Now it emerges as an intoxicating plunge into post-war Soho; full of despair and longing.

Joe Hill-Gibbins returns to the NT to direct a large ensemble in this new production of Absolute Hell.


Talks and events

Actor Kate Fleetwood on Absolute Hell, Wed 13 June, 4pm
Director Joe Hill-Gibbins and Designer Lizzie Clachan on Absolute Hell, Wed 13 June, 5.30pm
Night and the City (film screening), Mon 11 June. 5pm

Absolute Hell | The history of the play

Absolute Hell has always been a controversial play.

More info

Absolute Hell | What is Absolute Hell about?

Watch some of the cast introduce this extraordinary play

More info

Absolute Hell | What is your relationship with Soho?

More info


Production team

Absolute Hell ticket prices and Access performances

Ticket prices

Monday - Thursday eves, all matinees
£62, £54, £44, £31, £15
Friday & Saturday eves
£67, £58, £48, £34, £18
Ways to save
Previews 18 - 24 April

£47 - £15

Access Performances

Audio-described performances, for blind and visually impaired people:
Friday 18 May, 7pm
Saturday 19 May, 1.30pm preceded by a Touch Tour

Captioned performances, for deaf and hard of hearing
Monday 14 May, 7pm
Tuesday 22 May, 1.30pm
Tuesday 12 June, 7pm
Wednesday 13 June, 7pm

Help Centre

For general ticket information

Browse the frequently asked questions for tickets

For general ticket information

Browse the frequently asked questions for tickets