Summer Season | April - July 2012


by Michael Healey

Tuesday, 19 June – Saturday, 14 July 2012

Time Out Critics' Choice

★★★★★ Five Stars, WhatsOnStage
★★★★ Four Stars, Time Out
★★★★ Four Stars, The Public Reviews
★★★★ Four Stars, The Times

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here

The London Premiere

“The Drawer Boy is a beautifully written play. It moves from toughness and hilarity to something devastating and tender…It is one of the few plays to create an authentic tradition in our culture.” Michael Ondaatje

The London premiere of the multi-award-winning play from one of Canada's leading playwrights, Michael Healey.

Miles, an energetic and idealistic young actor, knocks on the door of an isolated farmhouse in rural Canada, seeking material for a new play he’s working on. He discovers Morgan, a gruff farmer working tooth and nail to survive, and Angus, his lifelong friend, who has long since lost track of the world.

 But when the farmers let the city-boy into their home, Miles’ search for a story gradually unearths a devastating truth that threatens to destroy the tranquil lives of his hosts forever.

Beautifully written, funny and moving, The Drawer Boy is a multi-award-winning bitter sweet tale of the power of storytelling, friendship, and the very thin line between truth and fiction.

The Drawer Boy premiered at Toronto’s acclaimed Theatre Passe Muraille, winning the Dora Mavor Moore Award (Canada’s leading theatre award) for Best New Play, as well as the Chalmers Canadian Playwriting Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award. It has been produced across North America and internationally, and has been translated into German, French and Japanese.


Playwright Michael Healey trained as an actor at Toronto’s Ryerson Theatre School. He began writing for the stage in the early nineties and his first play, Kicked, was produced at the Fringe of Toronto Festival in 1996. He subsequently toured the play across Canada and internationally, and in 1998 it won Canada’s leading theatre award – the Dora Mavor Moore Award – for Best New Play. His plays include The Road To Hell (co-authored with Kate Lynch), Plan B (which again won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play in 2002), Rune Arlidge (nominated for the Governor General’s Award in 2004), The Innocent Eye Test (Manitoba Theatre Centre and Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre 2006), and Generous (winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play in 2007) which received its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre in August 2009 and was revived by popular demand for a full length run in January 2010 and was named Time Out  Critics' Choice. Courageous - the sequel to Generous - premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto in January 2010, and went on to win the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play. Michael Healey was Playwright-in-Residence at the Tarragon Theatre from 2000-2011.  He recently resigned his post after controversy arose over programming his latest work - Proud - which satirises Canada's current political administration.


Director Eleanor Rhode is a former Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre where she has directed both sell-out runs of Generous by Michael Healey, The December Man (L’homme de décembre) for 2009’s VibrantA Festival of Finborough Playwrights, Barrow Hill  for Vibrant – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights in 2010 and Sihanoukville for VibrantA Festival of Finborough Playwrights in 2011. She was also Assistant Director on Trying and S-27.  Eleanor graduated from Mountview in 2008. She went on to train at the National Theatre Studio in 2009 and is a former Staff Director at the National Theatre. Other directing includes The Gypsy Thread (National Theatre Studio), The Error of Their Ways (Cockpit Theatre), A Number (Camden People’s Theatre), This Lime Tree Bower (Edinburgh Festival), and staged readings of The Geese of Beverly Road (Theatre 503) and Photos of You Sleeping (Hampstead Theatre). As Associate Director, she has worked on the London transfer of Lie of The Land (Arcola Theatre). Eleanor is the Artistic Director of Snapdragon Productions.


Snapdragon Productions was formed by Eleanor Rhode and Sarah Loader in 2009, and became a limited company under the direction of Pelham Olive in January 2012. Previous productions have included the European premiere of Michael Healey's Generous  which enjoyed two sell-out runs at the Finborough Theatre and was named Time Out’s Critics’ Choice, the award-winning European premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Me and Juliet (Finborough Theatre), Anna Karenina (Arcola Theatre), and a co-production of the world premiere of Anders Lustgarten's A Day at the Racists(Finborough Theatre and the Broadway Theatre, Barking) which was nominated for the 2010 TMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Regional Theatre and won the playwright the inaugural Harold Pinter Award for Playwriting.


John Bett

Theatre includes The Enquirer (National Theatre of Scotland), Hamlet, We the People, Love Labour’s Lost, In Extremis, Liberty, Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Bacchae (National Theatre of Scotland and New York), According to Ben, The Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer, Genesis Rock, Laughing at the Fuhrer (Òran Mór, Glasgow), The Government Inspector (Tron Theatre, Glasgow, and Tour), The Sleeping Beauty (His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen), Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Queen’s Hall), Scenes from An Execution for which John was awarded Best Actor in the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (Dundee Rep), Translations (Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow), Mrs Warren’s Profession, A Christmas Carol for which John was nominated for Best Actor in the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland, As You Like It, Three Sisters, Macbeth, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Marriage (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), Damages (Bush Theatre), Remembrance of Things Past (National Theatre) and The Great Northern Welly Boot Show (Edinburgh Festival and The Young Vic). John was a founder member of 7:84 Theatre Company, appearing in the original production of The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil (Scottish Tour).

Film includes Tamara Drewe, The Golden Compass, Doctor Sleep, Mistgate, Shallow Grave, The Young Visitors, Sacred Hearts, Scotch Myths, Gregory’s Girl, Tess, Blast and the Caledonian Account.

Television includes Rab C Nesbitt, New Town, Rebus, The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle, Casualty, The Creatives, Murder Rooms, Secret Scotland, Vanity Fair, Truth or Dare, Woodcock, Para Handy, Jute City, Down Among the Big Boys and Inspector Morse.

He also works extensively as both a writer and director for stage, radio and television. He co-wrote and directed all of Dorothy Paul’s shows including See That’s Her which won a BAFTA Light Entertainment Award. His recent play Talk About It won a Scotsman Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival.

Neil McCaul

Theatre includes Twelfth Night (Singapore Repertory Theatre), A Round Heeled Woman (Riverside Studios and Aldwych Theatre), The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Hull Truck Theatre, Hull), Fings Ain’t What They Used to Be (Union Theatre), Oedipus (National Theatre), Calendar Girls (Noël Coward Theatre), Sylvia (Apollo Theatre), June Moon (Vaudeville Theatre), Privates on Parade (Piccadilly Theatre), The Merchant of Venice, Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ (Old Vic Theatre), Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi (Liverpool Playhouse), Flying Under Bridges, Cor Blimey (Watford Palace Theatre), Brighton Rock (Almeida Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (English Touring Theatre), Blackbird (Southwark Playhouse), Mr England (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Spend Spend Spend (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Sus (Greenwich Theatre), Spin (White Bear Theatre and BAC) and Habeus Corpus (Oxford Playhouse).

Film includes The Pirates of Penzance and Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire.

Television includes Holby City, Foyle’s War, Doctors, Blue Murder, Nostradamus, Most Mysterious Murders, Fifty Five Degrees North, Crossroads, Hearts and Bones, Lock, Stock, People Like Us, Where The Heart Is, A Wing and a Prayer, Father Ted Christmas Special, Get Real, Comedy Nation, Does China Exist?, Time After Time, Class Act, Up the Garden Path, Titus Andronicus, Take Me Home, The Upper Hand, The Peter Principle, Into the Fire, Casualty, Mary Rose and Minder.

Simon Lee Phillips 

Simon previously appeared at the Finborough Theatre in the original run of Michael Healey’s Generous (2009) and Oohrah! (2009). Other theatre credits include The Bridge Project: Richard III (The Old Vic / BAM/ International Tour), Inherit the Wind (The Old Vic), Dogfight (Arcola Theatre), Salsa Saved the Girls (Old Red Lion Theatre), Carve (Tristan Bates Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night (Guildford Shakespeare Company), The Infant (Old Red Lion Theatre and Edinburgh Festival) and Resistance (National and European Tours). Film includes Red Lights, The Passing Place, Me and Orson Welles, and Burlesque Fairytales. Television includes Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever, Blood in the Water and Banged Up Abroad.


“Far and away the finest new Canadian drama to grace a Toronto stage this season. Richly textured, The Drawer Boy touches the heart and mind in equal measure.” The Toronto Star on The Drawer Boy

“Wonderfully understated.  Funny and deeply affecting.” The Toronto Sun on The Drawer Boy

“A stunning and brave new play” The Globe and Mail on Rune Arlidge
“An ambitious work about humanity and fate that slyly has you laughing till the end when you suddenly realize it has not been a comedy at all, but a tragedy.” Eye Weekly on Rune Arlidge

“Our most humanely intelligent playwright.” The National Post on Rune Arlidge

“Absolutely outstanding, sizzling comedy.” CBC Radio on The Innocent Eye Test

“Tear inducingly funny.” The Globe and Mail on Plan B

“Plan B is, among other things, the best political play Toronto, or maybe Canada, has seen in years…shimmeringly accomplished but tantalizingly cool.” The National Post on Plan B


Time Out Critics' Choice
**** Four Stars Time Out
**** Four Stars WhatsOnStage

“Strikingly intelligent fun.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“The dialogue and performances in this constantly surprising dramatic investigation into benevolence (think Neil LaBute, only warmer and funnier) are as good as anything you’ll find in the West End.” Robert Shore, Time Out

“Delivered here in a polished European premiere at the Finborough, Generous is a great play gone outstanding.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Eleanor Rhode’s production is bright, sharp, swift and well-acted.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Slick direction by Eleanor Rhode…Generous [is] an early high point in the London fringe calendar.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Canadian playwright Michael Healey has rarely been performed in Britain, but Generous suggests that he’s too intriguing a writer to ignore forever.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“This production is must-see material for those whose passion for great theatre is paralleled only by the love of a rousing post-show debate.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Adeptly directed by Eleanor Rhode, Generous is engaging and genuinely thought-provoking throughout.” Kelly Ann Warden, WhatsOnStage

“Canadian playwright Michael Healey’s cerebral and extraordinarily true-to-life play Generous” Kelly Ann Warden, WhatsOnStage

“Healey’s characters have a delectable knack for deconstructing their own and others’ emotional strategies even as they’re deploying them.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“Michael Healey’s sprightly comedy” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Healey neatly shows the comic impurity of good intentions.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Healey’s freewheeling, exuberantly loquacious drama.” Robert Shore, Time Out

“Director Eleanor Rhode has assembled a talented cast.” Quentin Letts, The Daily Mail

“Eleanor Rhode matches its seriocomic mood admirably, coaxing fine performances out of her cast.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“Michael Healey’s clever and witty play provides a thought-provoking look at the moral complexities of trying to “do good…Healey’s dialogue crackles with both humour and tension” Elizabeth Fitzherbert, WhatsOnStage

“The entire company is packed with the most accomplished actors.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatre Reviews

“A high-quality production that zings along from first to last.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“Director Eleanor Rhode grasps these high-octane minds in a fast, explosive production…the acting’s undoubtedly fine throughout” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate


“This theatre, yet again, has provided me with one of the most thought-provoking and genuinely moving experiences I have ever had. And I mean “ever”, not just in a theatre.” Colin Applebey, Bargain Theatre 

“Amusing, affecting and evocative... Satirical yet tender, this is a small delight.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“The Finborough, one of the best London Fringe theatres, gives this play its well deserved and long overdue London première.... An intelligent and witty drama” A London Theatre Goer

“Humorous and affecting....A very enjoyable play, emotionally satisfying and certainly has more than enough humour and tickle your funny bone.” Antoinette Stott, Public Reviews

“Alongside the many sparkling moments of comedy, this sensitively written and convincingly performed production enters into a debate on the impact and issues of one of the most controversial dramaturgical processes: documentary theatre.” Hannah Maxwell, StageWon

“The play's a slow burn that had me totally caught up in its characters, by turns funny...moving and intriguing.” Nick 730, Partially Obstructed View

“An impressive mix of tragedy and life-affirming loveliness.” Sally Stott, The Stage

“Raises a host of fascinating questions about the collision between art and reality.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“An incredibly moving, subtle, gentle and little play that deals with some huge topics such as the aftermath of war, co-dependancy, love and duty.” Colin Applebey, Bargain Theatre

"The Drawer Boy is both ambitious and fresh, and shows the Finborough off at its best.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“This might be an odd, quirky curiosity of a play about 1970s farm life in Canada. Not so. The gentle pace of rural life that opens the scene is deceptive, building up to an at-times gripping crescendo of tragedy, madness, trauma and the question of truth and lies.... Beautifully written – it is funny, tragic, tender and true.” Londonist

“Michael Healey’s exceptional play ” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Healey’s writing needs to be both grounded and savoured, and the cast rise to the challenge.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“Healey has a good deal to say about rural hardship and both the ethical dubiety and therapeutic potential of turning other people's lived experience into art.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“A modern classic-in-the-making that deserves to be seen more widely, Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy won multiple awards when it opened in Canada in 1999, but is only now receiving its London premiere, thanks to the Finborough’s consistently excellent work championing underexposed gems.” Sally Stott, The Stage

“The cast work as a complete ensemble, and are utterly exposed and vulnerable at times, aided by the set-up of the theatre in-the-round.” Amy Stow, WhatsOnStage

“With its intricate script and strong cast, The Drawer Boy is another example of the best of Canadian theatre brought to the Finborough. The production moves effortlessly from comedy to poignancy and does more than sufficient justice to the complex topics of theatre, stories, the people who make them, and the people they come from.” Hannah Maxwell, StageWon

“Played with enthusiasm and innocence by Simon Lee Phillips bringing many many laughs.” Antoinette Stott, Public Reviews

“Simon Lee Phillips’s Miles is a compelling mix of amusing naivety and laudable integrity.” Sally Stott, The Stage

“Lee-Phillips gives a hilariously recognisable portrayal of the urban actor; entirely incongruous to his earthy surroundings.” Hannah Maxwell, StageWon

“Rendered with touching detail by John Bett.” Hannah Maxwell, StageWon 

“John Bett’s Angus is beautifully-observed.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“John Bett gives a heart-stoppingly well-studied performance.” Sally Stott, The Stage

John Bett “A fine performance in a fine production of a play by a writer of whom we should see much more.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“John Bett and Neil McCaul are captivating in their respective roles, John Bett creating a wholly believable performance of a man unable to remember one moment to the next yet still retains higher functioning math skills and under it a vague acceptance and understanding his own predicament, his performance is nuanced and without any self awareness. Neil McCaul as Morgan is compelling, skilfully portraying a man with both terrible guilt and terrible loneliness.” Antoinette Stott, Public Reviews

“Outstanding performances by John Bett (Angus) and Neil McCaul (Morgan).” A London Theatre Goer

“Both Bett and McCaul had quite brilliant comic timing and aptitude, bringing humour into even the bleakest of moments.”  Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“A brilliant Neil McCaul.” Stewart Pringle, Time Out

“Neil McCaul is compellingly troubled as his life-long friend, Morgan, skilfully peeling back the layers of Healey’s beautifully structured script.” Sally Stott, The Stage

“McCaul’s performance as the puffed up Morgan, stubbornly brusque as he attempts to retain control and block out the probing, inquisitive and insensitive Miles (Simon Lee Phillips), was likewise hugely commendable.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Neil McCaul gives Morgan integrity and fear for his brother.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“Eleanor Rhode, who previously directed Healey's Generous at this address, gets good performances from Simon Lee Phillips as the cack-handed actor, Neil McCaul as the pragmatic Morgan, and an intensely moving one from John Bett as the shuffling, bewildered Angus.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Rhode’s production delves into all the play’s many layers, drawing out the qualities that have made it a near-classic in its native Canada.” Zakia Uddin, Exeunt

“The Drawer Boy...makes a powerful case for the necessity of art. It's one that's perfectly rendered here in Eleanor Rhode's lean and vital production.” Stewart Pringle, Time Out

“Eleanor Rhode’s direction and use of the small space and setting is shrewd and dynamic.” Antoinette Stott, Public Reviews

“Skilfully directed by Eleanor Rhode,the actors truly shine in their roles.” Londonist

“This three-hander is delicately and sympathetically approached by director Eleanor Rhode, who skillfully draws out the humour within each relationship, and creates an immersive world which the audience can simply sink into.” Amy Stow, WhatsOnStage

“Molly Einchcomb’s props and costumes are all meticulously well chosen.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Aesthetically, a sparse set and well-chosen music and birdsong quickly transport the audience away from West London to rural Ontario.” Hannah Maxwell, StageWon

“Molly Einchcomb’s minimal rightly ignores realism, creating a space where the shifting relationships are freely expressed.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“George Dennis’s wonderfully atmospheric music.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“I arrived at the theatre that night in a sort of “Come on then, entertain me” kind of mood, and I left it feeling honoured to have witnessed three great performances and a piece so moving that I implore you to go and see it...If I could give this a star ranking, it goes without saying that it would easily be a 5* review. Book a ticket because this is truly remarkable, once in a lifetime, theatre.” Colin Applebey, Bargain Theatre

“It turns out, as play, production and in its three performances, thrilling.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“The Finborough continues its run of Fringe hits with a London premiere of Canadian Michael Healey's 1999 paean to the power of storytelling.” Stewart Pringle, Time Out

“Given Michael Healey’s recent break with Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, which was prompted by a decision not to program the playwright’s latest offering due to alleged concerns over potentially libelous content linked to Canada’s prime minister, the Finborough Theatre’s superb production of Healey’s original full length play, The Drawer Boy, is particularly timely.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Canadian writing has largely been ignored in British theatre, to its great detriment. Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy at the Finborough Theatre shows us why the stories and secrets underpinning these Canadian-dwelling characters are worth revealing, layer by layer.” Amy Stow, WhatsOnStage

 “A great outing to the theatre; even a matinee on a hot Summer day is a pleasant experience here: the Finborough Theatre is air conditioned and the Finborough Café a friendly place serving good wines and a mean cup of coffee just when you need it.” A London Theatre Goer


Tuesday, 19 June – Saturday, 14 July 2012

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm

19 June - 1 July 2012

Tickets £14, £10 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £10 all seats, and Saturday evenings £14 all seats.
Previews (19 and 20 June) £9 all seats.

£5 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£10 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 5 March 2011 when booked online only.

3 - 14 July 2012

Tickets £16, £12 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £12 all seats, and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.

STAGETEXT captioned performance for deaf and hard of hearing people- Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 3.00pm.

Performance Length: Approximately two hours with one interval of fifteen minutes.

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here



Image copyright Nicholas Monu

Written by Michael Healey

Directed by Eleanor Rhode

Designed by Molly Einchcomb

Lighting by Howard Hudson

Sound and Original Composition by George Dennis

Presented by Snapdragon and Nicola Seed in association with The Finborough Theatre