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Exit the King

by Eugène Ionesco
in a new version by Patrick Marber

17 July to 6 October 2018
Running Time: Approx 1 hour and 40 minutes with no interval

Exit the King

Patrick Marber (Three Days in the CountryHedda Gabler) directs his new version of Exit the King with a cast including Rhys Ifans (Notting HillA Christmas Carol) in the title role and Indira Varma (Game of Thrones, Man and Superman) as his first Queen.

Somewhere in Europe the kingdom is disintegrating. It’s the last day of King Bérenger’s life. Queen Marguerite is preparing for the end and Queen Marie is in denial. The King is 400 years old and dying, but he’s clinging on for dear life...

‘The king is dead. Long live the king.’

This great tragi-comedy is brought to life on the Olivier stage this summer, the first time Eugène Ionesco’s work has been performed at the National Theatre.


Hundreds of seats at £15 for every performance


Talks and events

Exploring Exit the King Wed 5 Sep, 10.30am – 4.30pm, £55/£40/£7.50

Exit the King Talks on Thu 6 Sep
individual events £7/£5,
combined tickets £15/£12
Actors Rhys Ifans and Indira Varma, 3 – 4pm
Three Perspectives on Dying, 4.30 – 5.30pm
Director and Adapter Patrick Marber 6 – 6.45pm

Designing Exit the King, Wed 3 October, 5pm

4 star rating

Excellent performances. Rhys Ifans owns the stage.

4 star rating

Patrick Marber has breathed new life into a work that feels like a neglected gem, a crown jewel. Long may it reign.

Radio Times

A top-notch cast. Rhys Ifans is a marvel. Indira Varma is superb. Debra Gillett is a cartoonish delight.

Time Out

Bonkers. Patrick Marber's new version packs an unexpected topical punch.

Evening Standard

Vivaciously performed and full of regal ritual. A majestic and compelling performance from Rhys Ifans.


Anthony Ward's design is beautiful. The way they transform the set by the end of the production is stunning, and an interesting use of the Olivier Theatre.

Broadway World

Rehearsal Gallery

Exit the King | The show in three words

More info



Production team

Photography (Rhys Ifans, Indira Varma, Amy Morgan, Debra Gillett, Derek Griffiths and Adrian Scarborough) by Jay Brooks.

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