Fred & Madge

The Hope Theatre    15th September - 18th October 2014   


Rough Haired Pointer and Adam Spreadbury-Maher present

The World Premier of Joe Orton's Fred & Madge

Before there was sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll Joe Orton was creating the cultural revolution in a small bedsit in Noel Road in the form of his first play Fred & Madge, until now unproduced. Now for the first time it will be professionally staged at The Hope Theatre, a stone’s throw from Orton’s flat where he lived, wrote and in 1967 was murdered.

Webber: Do you want to ruin society and civilization with your laughter? 
Madge: Yes, oh yes!

Fred and Madge are a normal unhappily married couple. Or so we think... until we discover that they are inhabiting a play about themselves. To this meta-theatrical framework, the young Orton adds his trademark biting satire and social insight, along with the truly strange. Full of sardonic wit and sexual innuendo Joe Orton's Fred & Madge is a fascinating and hilarious insight into the development of one of the most original minds of 20th century theatre.

Joe Orton came from a working-class family in Leicester. He won a scholarship to RADA where he met his lover and lifelong companion Kenneth Halliwell with whom he lived until 1967 when Halliwell murdered him and then killed himself. His work includes Entertaining Mr Sloane, Loot and What The Butler Saw.

In October 2014 his first play will be performed professionally for the first time at The Hope Theatre 47 years after his death.


The Telegraph ★★★



The Times

"Rendered with all due care and disrespect by a versatile young cast"


The Stage ★★★

"Brilliant...unlike anything else you'll see on the fringe"


PostScript Journal

"A full-throttle and rambunctious theatrical experience -  a riot of colour, characters and ideas that spill over the fourth wall and keep going. It promotes dreams over reality.  It is akin to a cultural sugar-rush."



"An explosion of anarchic humour"



"Funny, bizarre, clever...this really was the most unexpectedly fantastic (in the true sense of the word) thing I’ve ever seen on stage"


London Theatre

"A lively, imaginative production"


QX Magazine

"Stellar cast, direction and set"


Grumpy Gay Critic

"A pristine production of Joe Orton’s absurdist misanthropy"