Booking Info

Join a medley of much-loved faces including Tom Allen, Adjoa Andoh, Alexander Armstrong, Jo Brand, Jack Dee, Stephen Fry, Nish Kumar, Lee Mack, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miller or Sue Perkins* in this “irresistible” (The Times) stage adaptation of the award-winning BBC Radio 4 comedy series Bleak Expectations. 

Follow the hilarious misadventures of the young Pip Bin - tragic half orphan, hopeless romantic and would-be-hero - as this glorious Victorian mash-up arrives at the Criterion Theatre for a limited season from the 3 May. 
*Not all at the same time, obviously (that would be ridiculous)**

Bleak Expectations is the riotous story that Charles Dickens might have written after drinking too much gin. Follow Pip’s extraordinary exploits with sisters Pippa and Poppy plus best friend Harry Biscuit as they attempt to escape the calculating clutches of the dastardly Mr Gently Benevolent, defeat the hideous Hardthrasher siblings, and deflect disaster at every turn!

Will evil be vanquished by virtue? Can love triumph over hate? Escape with this joyfully anarchic comedy featuring barbarous boarding schools, contemptible conspiracies, roaring romances, devilish disguises, and definitely, probably, hopefully, a happy ending!

**Please see website for announced cast members and their individual performance dates. 

  • "A wickedly inventive parody of Victorian melodrama"

    The Times
3 May - 13 Aug
Criterion Theatre
Running Time
Tickets From
Age Recommendations

Saturday 20 May 14:30

Captioned Performance
Wednesday 19 July 19:30

Audio Described Performance
Saturday 19 August 14:30

Relaxed Performance
Sunday 6 August 15:00

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Criterion Theatre

Criterion Theatre, 218-223 Piccadilly St. James's London W1J 9HR

The Criterion is an independent theatre located on Picadilly Circus in London’s West End. The Criterion is on Piccadilly Circus south-east side, by The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain (Eros). The theatre entrance faces the statue. Piccadilly Circus tube station, exit 4, brings you to the front of the theatre.

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Underground and Train

Piccadilly Circus (1 minute walk) - Piccadilly Line and Bakerloo Line Leicester Square (Approx 10 minute walk) - Piccadilly Line and Northern Line Green Park (Approx 10 minute walk) - Piccadilly Line and Victoria Line. This station has step free access to street level.


Regent Street / St James - Outside Tesco 12, 88, 94, 453, N3, N15. Regent Street / St James - Outside Tesco 6, 9, 139, 159, N9, N18, N97, N109, N136. Haymarket / Jermyn Street R - Outside TigerTiger 6, 9, 139, N9, N15, N13.

Frequently Asked Questions

The cloakroom is currently closed due to security and Covid-19 secure considerations.  Consequently they are unable to accommodate large bags or suitcases and advise patrons to bring with them only essential, handbag size, bags.  There are a number of left luggage facilities in the Piccadilly Circus area -  location, availability and pricing information can be found through an internet search for local companies.

There are bars situated on the Dress Circle and Stalls auditorium levels.  Drinks may be taken into the auditorium and staff can offer assistance purchasing beverages if customers are unable to access the bar areas.  You can also pre-order via the CrowdEngage pre-show text sent out on the day of your booking to pre-order for at seat service.

Please be aware that if you arrive late to the theatre you may be asked to wait for a suitable break before entering the auditorium, which may be the interval. You may be asked to sit in different seats to those which you originally booked until the interval in order to minimise disruption to those customers already inside the auditorium.

If you leave the auditorium during the performance to use the toilet, bar, or for any other reason you may have to wait until a suitable break in the performance before being able to re-enter. This may be the interval.