The Changeling
Southwark Playhouse
28th Sep to 28th Oct 2023

“Bringing one of the greatest Jacobean masterpieces from Thomas Middleton and William Rowley to Southwark Playhouse this autumn, Lazarus Theatre and their courageous cast present a fresh, visceral, and gut-punching new ensemble production.

First performed in 1622, Middelton and Rowley’s The Changeling tells the epic horror of a hateful relationship stretching to murderous lengths. Caught between an unwanted betrothal and unattainable love, Beatrice employs the services of her mother’s repulsive servant De Flores to rid her of the tangled web of marriage – only to become locked in a high fuelled spiral of violence and lunacy. A play full of jealousy, lust, and murder, Southwark Playhouse sets the perfect pre-cursor to Halloween in this full throttle ensemble production.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

The theatre has been designed to surround the audience on 3 sides of an executive board room. Centred and striking is the oval wooden table with 12 expensive looking executive chairs. On top of the table are 3 handset telephones which place us circa 1980s. At the top end of the room is a dresser cabinet.

The show starts with a whirl and in come the executives – the women look somewhat “Quaker’ish” and the men in office attire. Setting the tone as formal, smart and disciplined, the choreographic entrance performed with military unison. The theme of dressing the cast in distinctly different styles based on gender appearance continues throughout the show with the 2nd half of the performance having the men in white muscle vests and the women in soft robes and barefoot.

This is a show of bold statements. 100s of bold lighting and sound cues continuously pepper – every few lines someone would enter or exit the active performance area always accompanied with a snap lighting cue and a “thwump” sound effect. This stylisation is out of character for a Jacobean 17th century play on an 80s plush set, performed in 2023 and adds to the disorientation of the piece. The lighting chose atmosphere over illumination with several scenes performed by actors who’s faces were in the dark while the soundscape and sound effects competed with the fog machines for density. Although the audience and performance space were distinctly seperated it did feel very immersive.

I struggled to follow the story but am in awe of the cast for remembering all that Jacobean rhetoric. There was a tremendous amount of theatricality and a lot to watch. Joining the audience in watching the principal players were the silent ensemble who stay on stage, effectively completing the 4th side of the audience, motionless, clumped, acutely watching the action.

Having seen several Lazarus productions this one serves the same high level of quality in all departments and doesn’t shy from blood and gore. There was a “Splash Zone” labelled on a section of the seating – with empty seats the performance I watched as nobody choose to sit there. I suppose you would only choose to sit there if you wanted to become part of the performance or wanted to get wet. Similar to other Lazarus productions there are musical numbers squeetered in – previously I’ve enjoyed choreographical pieces, this time we have hand-held microphones pulled from their storage locations under table flaps and a couple of pop song performances. Rather strange but hey very entertaining. My favourite number involved large balloons that the cast and audience hand-volleyed around the auditorium.

This isn’t a show one forgets in a hurry – mirror balls, blood, large balloons, in a production that’s over-engineered, bizarre, and out of place – all in all, very entertaining.

Photo credit: Charles Flint

Alonzo de Piracquo Alex Bird
Alsemero Mylo McDonald
Beatrice Joanna Colette O’Rourke
Deflores Jamie O’Neill
Diaphanta Henrietta Rhodes
Jasperino Dane Williams
Tomazo De Piracquo Olsen Elezi
Vermandero Emma Wilkinson Wright
Ensemble Mikko Juan
Kiera Murray
Hamish Somers

Writer Thomas Middleton and William Rowley
Director Ricky Dukes
Designer Sorcha Corcoran
Lighting Designer Stuart Glover
Sound Designer Sam Glossop
Company Photographer Adam Trigg
Production Photographer Charles Flint
Costume Designer Alice Neale
Producer for LTC Gavin Harrington-Odedra

The Changeling
Dates Thursday 28th September – Saturday 28th October 2023
Streamed performance – Thursday 9th November 2023
Location Southwark Playhouse Borough, The Little, 77-84 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD
How to Get There The nearest underground station is Elephant & Castle (on the Bakerloo and Northern lines).
Running Time 2 hours, including 15 minute interval
Times Monday – Saturday, 8pm Tuesday and Saturday matinee, 3.30pm
Box Office Standard tickets are £25, with preview rates at £16 and concession at £20. Purchase is available from the box office on 020 7407 0234 or by booking online at
Age Guidance 14+
Content Warnings Contains smoke, haze, smoking, strobe lighting, sustained blackouts, blood, dismemberment, and scenes of a sexual and violent nature.
Twitter @LazarusTheatre #LTC
Instagram @LazarusTheatre