Theatre (drama, comedy)

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  • Gilded Balloon Teviot - Dining Room
  • 13:45
  • Aug 26
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - Scotland
  • Group: Gilded Balloon, Comedians Theatre Company and Marshall Cordell present...
  • Warnings and additional info: None
  • Accessibility:
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


Comedians Theatre Company presents this rare one-act play which illustrates how our lives are shaped by the people we meet. Originally produced on Broadway, revived to sellout houses in 1996 starring Al Pacino, Hughie was one of Eugene O'Neill's last works. Originally intended as part of a series of short plays entitled By Way of Obit, it became the lone survivor when O'Neill destroyed the others. Starring Mike McShane (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and Phil Nichol (Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner).

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General venue access

  • Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
  • Accessible entry: Entrance via level access after taking stairs or lift to level 2.
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access, Lift (Building Lift)

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Paul B. 82 days ago

A fine production of one of Eugene O'Neill's late, *brief* one act plays. Though the story appears to be about "Erie" 's bragging, blague 'ing and bravado, it's what's going on beneath that bluster that is so moving.

The fact is, no matter how worldly and selfish Erie says he is, he has gone into debt to purchase a large (lucky) horseshoe wreath for the funeral of his late lamented friend Hughie - the recently deceased night clerk at this seedy Broadway hotel. Erie's own luck at the race track and in everything else, has evaporated since Hughie's death, and the new night clerk, Mr. Hughes - superbly realized by Mike McShane (who also directed) - seems unmoved, out of touch and vague - barely tolerating Erie's endless spew of self centered hyperbole... Unless Erie can come up with the money he owes to the several gangsters and tough guys from whom he's borrowed the cash to purchase Hughie's farewell wreath, he faces being beaten to death in a few days' time.

Then something happens. Mr. Hughes, the new night clerk, starts to pay attention, to engage Erie. They talk gambling. Erie responds as he used to do with Hughie - and a warmth, a sureness, a belief in his luck - reawakens in Erie.

At an interview with Fred Macauley during the Fringe, Phil Nicol and Mike McShane shared the gem of information hidden in O'Neill's story. Erie has bet all he has on a horse set to run in a day or so, secretly "hopped up" and racing against the unbeaten "Man o' War". It's a wild, hopeless Hail Mary bet - but the fact is, that the only time Man o' War was beaten in his illustrious racing career, was against a horse who was indeed "hopped up".

Erie - from the depths of despair in the middle of the night at a seedy Broadway hotel - is about to emerge into the glorious light of prosperity, good luck and friendship. And he clearly has a new friend who will be there to share it with him - Mr. Hughes.

The production is bravely and beautifully realized. It's a joy to hear the Broadway slang of the early 20th century - and McShane's quiet, understated portrayal of the blank, dull Mr. Hughes - eventually metamorphosing into a lively foil for Erie, is a joy to behold. Phil Nicol wrestles the enormous flow of antique verbiage with aplomb, and we feel his desperation below the surface of his throwaway self justifying spiel.


Darren J 86 days ago

My earlier attempt to post a review failed so although the fringe is over I'm hoping those involved will at least see my summary: absolutely brilliant performance of a cracking bit of writing, a highlight of my fringe experience. Delivered by two craftsmen of acting, congratulations and well done, sirs.

Kathleen Noonan 92 days ago

This was a more serious play than I expected with an almost one-sided conversation throughout. It appears to be a story of a sad character bragging about success with women and gambling missing the friendship of the recently deceased desk clerk.
Would the newly employed Charlie, who remains silent for most of the hour, be a suitable replacement?
Although we really only hear Erie expertly delivered tales, Charlie's silent presence and that of his now absent predecessor are just as important and I was left thinking how important hustling must be in gambling, and who was the master of it in this story.

Dr James Ellison 103 days ago

Fabulous! We've been studying this atmospheric and existential late play by O'Neill with students, and I couldn't imagine it done better. A must see!

Sean Davis 104 days ago

Hughie (***)
In the 1930s, a down on his luck gambler tires to impress the desk clerk who replaced his recently deceased friend. As his braggadocio continues, we come to understand how significant this lowly clerk was in his shallow, lonely life. Though the tale unfolds at a steady pace, it does seem to be a one note piece.

This was the 30th most enjoyable of the 48 shows I have seen so far this year. You may see my other three-sentence reviews, in order from most enjoyable to worst, at my non-commercial website:

LTW 106 days ago

Interesting story. More of a monologue since only one person was speaking most of the show.

Good acting, though I couldn't connect the dots at the end of the story?


Elizabeth T 106 days ago

Good play, great acting, good venue. Would recommend!

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One4Review (5/5 stars) 99 days ago

Hughie is a Eugene O’Neill one act play....

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Broadway Baby (5/5 stars) 104 days ago

Tucked away upstairs at The Gilded Balloon, nestling right at the heart of comedy central, is an absolute gem which is a must-see for any devotees of real theatre. One of Eugene O’Neill’s last plays, Hughie sees sad act hustler Erie Smith bluster and bloviate around the hotel lobby of...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.