Old Red Lion
7th to 11th Nov 2023

“After a critically acclaimed Fringe run, Breaking the Castle is heading to London with its moving true story of addiction, brought to life in a hilarious, uplifting and poignant one-man show.  This will run as part of the Pleasance’s Best of Edinburgh season in London, which brings together some of the best and brightest productions from the festival, and for five nights at the Old Red Lion Theatre. Writer and performer Peter Cook draws from his own life experiences in this tour-de-force performance of a struggling actor battling debilitating mental health and descending into a world of addiction – illuminating the broader struggles of those who live on the edges, and the inequalities in the addiction and recovery cycle.

Breaking The Castle is a work of compassion, drawing on Cook’s lived experiences, creating a gripping tale of undeniable authenticity.  This visceral, funny and inspiring production cuts across class, gender and race, getting to the heart of human complexity in a story that people across the world can relate to, no matter their background.  Breaking The Castle is brought to the stage by producer, creator and performer Peter Cook, lighting designer Ben Hughes, sound designer Kimmo Vennonen and director Bridget Boyle.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

A simple cluttered set and a considered soundscape set the various scenes for Peter Cook’s one man monologue about his journey from childhood abandonment to addiction. It’s a no-holds-barred journey through neglect, questionable choices, bad luck, failed relationships, therapy and rehab.

Running at 100 miles per hour, Peter doesn’t miss a beat, he is script perfect in delivering this monster text. No pause for reflection or change of pace is allowed which is probably done to emphasise the actor’s reliance on speed or similar mind altering drugs.

With scenes of drug use it isn’t a play for everyone. Peter performs with conviction and as actor/writer begs the question how much of this is based on his reality. I believe it is all true and it’s a powerful story of resilience and human strength.

7th – 11th November
Old Red Lion Theatre
418 St John St, London EC1V 4NJ

Tickets are available at

Running Time                                75 minutes

Cast                                                  Peter Cook

Producer                                         Melissa Western

Writer/Performer                         Peter Cook

Lighting Designer                          Ben Hughes

Sound Designer                             Kimmo Vennonen

Director                                          Bridget Boyle

Ages 16+, Contains coarse language and references to drug and alcohol use, and themes that may be triggering


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Twitter                                            @peterncook @thepleasance