The Red

Theatre (drama, comedy)

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  • Pleasance Dome - KingDome
  • 16:00
  • Aug 26
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Corduroy Productions and Something for the Weekend
  • Warnings and additional info: This show includes themes of addiction.
  • Accessibility:
    Audio enhancement system
    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


Benedict's dad loved wine. He loved collecting it, drinking it and sharing it with friends and family was an act of love. Benedict was a teenage alcoholic. He's been sober now for 25 years. On the day of his father's funeral, Benedict receives an unsettling final bequest: a bottle of exceptionally fine red wine. Will he drink one final toast to his father? Originally commissioned for BBC Radio 4, Marcus Brigstocke writes and directs this bittersweet drama of family and addiction, based on his own recovery. BBC Audio Drama Award winner 2018 for Best Single Drama.

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General venue access

  • Audio enhancement system
  • Accessible entry: Main queue inside Dome at left of building. Level access to left of venue — ask staff for assistance.
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access (Building Lift)

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

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

Robert Stone 114 days ago

This was one of the highlights of our Fringe this year. The outstanding writing was matched by the superb acting. Marcus Brigstocke has created a deeply moving portrayal of the relationship between father and son, and Sam and Bruce Alexander were utterly convincing in the roles (not surprisingly, I suppose!). Above, all, however, it was a subtle and revealing exploration of addiction in general and alcoholism in particular. I'll never think of this terrible affliction in the same way again.

Agnes Joyce Wells 116 days ago

I immediately thought this show had been written by an alcoholic. After some research it seems this is true. Powerful drama giving insight into the dilemma alcoholics must face often. Packed house. Well enjoyed. Can recommend.

Paul 119 days ago

Would a father leave his teetotal alcoholic son an “unsettling final bequest” to “drink one final toast” at his wake with a VERY special bottle of wine from his extensive collection? Well he might but it is unclear whether he believes (since he won’t be there to find out) that he will drink it and be fine or the temptation will reinforce his abstinence. The action takes place in the wine cellar where the son contemplates the pros and cons. This could have been an unrelenting monologue but the debate is played out by a real-life father-and-son acting duo, who more than do justice to Marcus Brigstocke’s witty and poignant script. There is, unsurprisingly, a warm relationship despite being argumentative during the beautifully paced dialogue. Society’s attitudes to alcoholics, recovering and otherwise, are well aired though the father’s lifelong “happy” relationship with drink could have been explored further. A thought-provoking hour that passed very easily and quickly despite the subject matter. Did Benedict take a glass of the fine wine and become the son he was meant to be? Or did he resist and remain the son his dad was actually rather proud of? Invest in a ticket!

Emma 119 days ago

Watching this show was viscerally painful. I was willing Benedict not to make the wrong choice throughout (a feeling which was, perhaps, heightened by the fact that my son is called Benedict). The mostly middle-aged, Home Counties looking audience around me all seemed to be similarly engaged some sort of mind-control. Despite the dark subject matter, there was a lightness of touch and many moments of levity. Well done to the Alexanders, and to Marcus Brigstocke, for creating a thought-provoking, compelling and enjoyable play.

Kierna Corr 120 days ago

Wow! This piece left me an emotional wreck! Such a powerful piece of theatre and the two actors were superb. An amazing hour of first class acting & writing. Bravo to all involved.

Julie Phillips 122 days ago

Wow. Excellent performance. See it if you can. You won’t be disappointed

George Kendrick 122 days ago

This show took me to some very real places in my mind. A profound and powerful show which excelled in so many ways.

From a technical perspective the use of light and the set was simple yet highly effective.

For 2 men to hold a room with deep, emotional dialogue, dusted with well timed humour... Was incredible. The performance was immersing and captivating.

A must see if you're wanting a break from slap stick humour at the Fringe.

Dave B 122 days ago

WOW this was powerful stuff, deals with something that is apparently very personal to Marcus B (he was an alcoholic as a teenager) - handled very sensitively with good humour and having a real father/son cast was a superb idea and worked really well.

Pauline 124 days ago

Moving and thought provoking and very well performed

Simon Holder 128 days ago

A father-son relationship provides an emotional insight into addiction, love and loss that manages to be both personal and universal. Superb performances from real-life father and son Bruce and Sam Alexander.

Hard to believe this is Marcus Brigstocke's first play - harder still not to be moved by it. Get a ticket if you can.

Kathleen Noonan 133 days ago

I loved this play.
Funny, emotional, thoughtful.
It showed the great love and respect the father and son had for each other and I was totally drawn into it to the point I wanted to join there conversation at times with my own questions or remarks.
Brilliant. Thank you.

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

One4Review (4/5 stars) 109 days ago

A new play by Marcus Brigstocke, his writing and directing debut, and very much a personal piece of work, given his own past addictions. The setting is the interior of a wine cellar into which enters Benedict, played by Sam … Read More...

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Edinburgh Festivals Magazine (4/5 stars) 114 days ago

White or Red? Red.Marcus Brigstocke’s The Red brings to life a bittersweet drama about the road to recovery, based on his own personal experience.Benedict (played by Sam Alexander) returns to his famil...

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UK Theatre Web (4/5 stars) 114 days ago

Beautifully paced and clevery constructed the arguments swing between yes and no, drink or abstain, risk it or never know. A thought provoking piece

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Voice Magazine (3/5 stars) 114 days ago

f you’re a wine lover or looking for something thought provoking, The Red could be the show for you.

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FringeReview 115 days ago

Many recovering addicts and alcoholics will tell you it was when they were feeling fine, that they relapsed. Often catastrophic relapses happen when the individual’s life is smooth again. When everything has settled, they aren’t at their rock bottom any more, that might have been many many years ago. They...

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British (3/5 stars) 116 days ago

Directed by Brigstocke himself, it is a gentle, poignant dialogue sprinkled with humour, examining what it means to suffer from alcoholism – a “sleeping tiger” waiting to be woken up.

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UK Theatre Network (5/5 stars) 117 days ago

Both are heavyweight actors and casting them is a mark of genius. There is a deep understanding between them; they are easy with each other, and their relationship brought tears to my eyes.
It’s obviously a very personal piece of work for Brigstocke and he’s done an amazing job.

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Daily Business Magazine (4/5 stars) 117 days ago

In places it feels as if the play is repeating itself, returning to the same ground without adding extra complications or temptations to raise the stakes, but the honesty of the script and convincing portrayals of son and father by Sam and John Alexander, make it thought-provoking and worth seeing.

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The List (4/5 stars) 119 days ago

A slick two-hander about a father, a son and the demon drinkThis is a play that Marcus Brigstocke wrote for Radio 4, and it shows; there's almost nothing to see here other than two men talking in a wine-cellar, and a bottle of red centre-stage. For his first Fringe show...

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The Wee Review (3/5 stars) 120 days ago

Originally commissioned for BBC Radio 4, Marcus Brigstocke writes and directs his debut play, The Red, a drama about family and addiction, based on his own recovery. The two-hander, featuring a real-life father and son acting duo, seeks to raise questions about the relationship we have to alcohol on a...

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Mind the Blog (4/5 stars) 123 days ago

Sensitively and wittily performed by the two Alexanders, The Red is eye-opening as well as entertaining. A moving interaction between father and son.

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Broadway World (3/5 stars) 124 days ago

Benedict has been sober for twenty-three years. His father has just passed away and Benedict is reading his will inside his wine cellar. His father was a collector and has bequeathed his wine collection to his three children. They are free to keep it, sell it or drink it. Benedict...

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ThreeWeeks (5/5 stars) 125 days ago

The power of this play lies in its simple sincerity; there’s nothing knowing or self-conscious here. Benedict is an alcoholic – 23 years sober – and on the day of his father’s funeral, he is tempted to drink again, from a very special bottle of wine. The two-hander is wonderfully,...

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The Scotsman (3/5 stars) 126 days ago

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke pours thirty years of fighting alcohol and other addictions into his debut semi-autobiographical play set in the proverbial well-stocked wine cellar. ...

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Edinburgh Guide (3/5 stars) 126 days ago

On the day of his father’s funeral, Benedict receives a message from beyond the grave. The letter requests that he open it in the wine cellar, a good place to think, where it will be easier to understand.  It bequeaths gifts in the form of his inheritance and also a last,...

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Broadway Baby (5/5 stars) 127 days ago

Debuting as a writer and director, TV’s Marcus Brigstocke – known for his comedy and occasional film roles – brings us The Red, a play informed by his own experience battling alcoholism for close to thirty-years. The two-hander stars real-life father and son duo Bruce and Sam Alexander who in...

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Whats On Stage (3/5 stars) 128 days ago

Marcus Brigstocke has been vocal in the past about his struggles with alcoholism – a problem that plagued him during his youth and has resulted in over 20 years of teetotalism. He now channels his experiences into his debut play, The Red, a charmingly straightforward yet comprehensive two-hander which premieres...

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The Stage [paywall] (3/5 stars) 130 days ago

Marcus Brigstocke has made regular appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe since winning the BBC New Comedy Award in 1996, either doing stand-up or in solo dramas such as 2015’s Fully Committed. This is, however, his first bash at directing and it’s a self-penned piece that channels Brigstocke’s own experience of...

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Fest (4/5 stars) 132 days ago

Loosely but crucially autobiographical, The Red is comedian Marcus Brigstocke's theatrical directing debut. Previously performed on Radio 4, he's tweaked it slightly for the stage. But its clear-sighted immediacy as a study of addiction and straightforwardly gripping drama are enhanced by the live setting. More than that, it's an intimate...

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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.

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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.