Set in the notorious 18th Century lunatic asylum that gives the play its name, Bedlam is the story of how a cruel and unusual institution starts to crumble, after the arrival of an unassuming country girl.
Nell Leyshon’s new play is an anarchic tale of madness and sanity, authority and incarceration and the arbitrary lines that separate them.
Full of violence, romance and reverie, Bedlam will make history this September when it becomes the first ever production by a female writer to be staged at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
"[Bedlam] is part farce, part documentary and part meditation on the nature of madness." - Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail
"Leyshon has accentuated the comic side of confinement... It's chaotic, rambunctious and at times saucily amusing." - Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard
"Nell Leyshon's new play, set in the notorious titular asylum, is boisterously disorderly. Chamber pots are jovially emptied over the audience, while Ella Smith's Phyllis, a shameless harlot, offers punters a grope of her bloomers." - Kate Bassett, Independent on Sunday
"Comissioning Nell Leyshon to write Bedlam for the Globe was a judicious move. This well-researched, lustily acted ensemble piece is also the first by a woman on the Globe's stage... Leyshon writes sympathetically, with a lightly reforming spirit. She permits laughter at the afflictions of Bedlam's inmates but her humour is tempered by humanity." - Kate Kellaway, Observer
"[Bedlam] turns the Globe into a chaotic madhoue and fills it with slapstick energy and blackly gleeful exuberance." - Paul Taylor, Independent
"Highly musical and full of broad physical comedy... Colourful street life, binge drinking and ballad singing provide plenty of spectacle." - Robert Stone, Metro
"Leyshon... charts a middle course with skill and sensitivity. It's a winning, good-hearted evening" - Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph