by Richard Kalinoski

Tuesday, 29 January – Saturday, 23 February 2019

The first London production in more than 20 years

★★★★★ Spy in the Stalls
★★★★ Evening Standard
★★★★ The Reviews Hub
★★★★ Close-up Culture
★★★★ Reviews Gate
★★★★ Jewish Renaissance
★★★★ The Arts Desk

OffWestEnd Award nomination for Female Performance In A Play: Zarima McDermott

“So some are beheaded and some are crucified and some are slaughtered,

and who wins the battle of who died the worst death? Who wins?”

Milwaukee in the 1920s. Aram believes he will begin a new life when his teenage ‘mail-order’ bride, Seta, arrives to join him. They are a couple united by history – both survivors of the Armenian Genocide. But their painful, shared experience does nothing to promote domestic harmony as Aram is obsessed with creating a family to replace the one he lost in such savage circumstances, and Seta, just fifteen and trapped by the traditions of the old ways, struggles to embrace her new life in a new country…

Richard Kalinoski’s beautifully written, universal story of hope and healing, has been performed in more than twenty countries. It returns to London in a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, where it was last performed in the 1990s. Beast on the Moon remains a play for our times – a powerful exploration of legacy for so many refugees.

The Armenian Genocide of 1915-16 was perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government against the Armenians, a Christian minority in a Muslim state. Up to one and a half million people died. To this day, the Turkish government refuses to admit that genocide ever took place.

Post Show Discussions

Discussions are after the evening performance and are free to ticketholders for that evening's performance.

Wednesday, 30 January; Saturday, 2 February; Wednesday, 6 February, Friday, 8 February and Wednesday, 13 February.

See section below for full details


Playwright Richard Kalinoski’s Beast on the Moon, won the 2001 Best Play from the Repertory prize at the Moliere Awards and four other Moliere Awards. Since emerging as a “triumph” (Ben Brantley, The New York Times) at the 1995 Humana Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, Beast on the Moon has been translated into twenty languages and produced in venues all over the world including Athens, Brussels, London, Moscow, New York (Off-Broadway), Prague, Sao Paolo, Toronto and Tallinn, Estonia. It has garnered a host of awards including the Osborn Best New Play in America by an Emerging Playwright, awarded by the American Theatre Critics Association in 1996, and, in 2001, five Ace Awards including Best Play in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2005, the President of Armenia Robert Kachadarian awarded Kalinoski the Khorenatsi Medal for Contribution to the Arts from the Country of Armenia.

His other plays include Between Men and Cattle developed at the National Playwrights Conference (1995) and later produced at the Detroit Repertory Theatre and at Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre (2004), My Soldiers, a play about a female soldier returning from Iraq which was produced at the Detroit Repertory Theatre (2010) and was featured at the Regional American College Theatre Festival of the Kennedy Center at Michigan State University (2011), The Boy Inside which earned Second Place in the Kennedy Center’s Mark David Cohen National Playwriting Contest (2016) and Front Room (2018) which was named as one of only eighteen new plays to be audio produced by the Ashland New Plays Festival in Ashland, Oregon, the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Wisconsin native Richard Kalinoski is Resident Playwright at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in Northeastern Wisconsin where he teaches playwriting and theatre history.


Director Jelena Budimir returns to the Finborough Theatre following her acclaimed production of Bruce Graham’s White Guy on the Bus which was nominated for four Off West End Awards including Best Director in 2018. She also directed Athena Stevens’ new play Genie for Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. Recently, she also devised and directed Back to the Future – a Celebration of Education with members of Clean Break Theatre. Jelena was Associate Director at Chickenshed Theatre for 22 years where she developed the Studio Theatre, and led on Chickenshed’s emerging writers’ programme Write Here, Write Now. Direction includes Benjamin Zephaniah’s Refugee Boy adapted by Lemn Sissay, Sarah Daniels’ Gut Girls, The Comedy of Errors, Dario Fo’s Can't Pay! Won't Pay!, Lysistrata, Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Yard Gal by Rebecca Prichard and Ariel Dorfmen’s Widows (Chickenshed) and Life After Death by Antuneil Thompson (Camden People’s Theatre). She has also written extensively for young people and children. Jelena originally trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – her performance work includes fringe, rep and West End alongside film, TV and radio.


George Jovanovic | Aram

Trained at The Oxford School of Drama.
Theatre includes How to Hold Your Breath (Royal Court Theatre), Screens (Theatre503), Cornermen (National Tour), Richard III (Blue Elephant Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Hen and Chickens Theatre) and Market Boy (Stockwell Playhouse).
Film includes Teen Spirit.
Television includes Kiss Me First, Holby City, Ultimate Worrier and Doctors.

Zarima McDermott | Seta

Trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes It’s a London Life For Me (Greenwich Theatre), Seven Wonders (Theatre N16), The Seagull (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), The House of Bernarda Alba and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin). Theatre while training includes The Devils, Arachne, Phaedra’s Love, When All My Words Are Gone and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Film includes Shoebox Memories and The Shaken.
Television includes Fair City and The Take.

Hayward B. Morse | Gentleman / Vincent

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include But It Still Goes On, The Melting Pot, Eden’s Empire, Weapons of Happiness and Magnificence.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Barking in Essex (Wyndham’s Theatre), Bar Mitzvah Boy (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Travels With My Aunt (Birmingham Rep), Barefoot In The Park (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford), The Rocky Horror Show (Kings Road Theatre), The Canterbury Tales (Phoenix Theatre), What The Butler Saw (Queen’s Theatre) and the Broadway production of Butley (Morosco Theatre, New York) for which he received a Tony Award nomination.
Film includes Blank Canvas, The Scared of Death Society, Agency and Death Wish 3.
Television includes Autopsy: The Last Hours of Lou Reed, The Secret Files and James May’s Man Lab.
Audio work includes The Killing School, The Life of the Buddha, The Theban Plays, The Man on the Mountaintop and over one hundred audiobooks for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.


“The Finborough, one of the tiny jewels in London’s theatrical crown, is especially skilled in the field of timely revivals, with its astute selections of unjustly neglected gems from the 20th century. Beast on the Moon is just such a play.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“In the week that Neil McPherson, the Finborough artistic director, got the Critics’ Circle prize for contributions to theatre for the work done at this 50 seat Earls Court theatre it has come up with a fine play superbly staged, directed and performed – Beast on the Moon.” William Russell, Reviewsgate

“For all the offstage horror, Beast on the Moon comes laced with charm: a touching and eminently watchable drama.” Tim Conwell, The Arts Desk

“A moving play about coming to terms with shocking family loss.” J2 Close-Up Culture

“Profound and moving but it is laced with humour and its message is uplifting.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatre

“Its relevance to the plight of refugees in the modern world is striking.” Stephen Bates, The Review Hub

“The word unmissable gets used loosely, but this really should be in any serious theatre goer’s diary.” William Russell, Reviewsgate

“Thought-provoking, disturbing, shocking and rewarding.” J2, Close-Up Culture

“A powerful exploration of family, memory and legacy.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“A profound and well-articulated play that speaks to the power of meaningful individual stories told with commitment and bravery.” William Nash, The Spy in the Stalls

“Deeply touching.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“What [it] demonstrates so movingly is Seta putting down roots and blossoming in a place that welcomes hard-working immigrants of all nationalities. If that doesn’t have something to say to us today, I don’t know what does.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“From this illuminating production, it’s not surprising that this moving, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes even funny play has been translated into many different languages and constantly revived worldwide since Kalinoski wrote it more than 20 years ago.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“The acting from all concerned is exemplary.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatre

“All three actors give tremendously thoughtful and committed performances throughout the evening as they skillfully incorporate the shifts in age and innocence the characters undergo.” William Nash, The Spy in the Stalls

“Zarima McDermott is highly impressive as Seta, mixing sparkiness and anxiety in just the right proportion.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The cast is quite brilliant with McDermott’s transformation from cowering child to a self-confident young woman extraordinary.” J2 Close-Up Culture

“Zarima McDermott’s remarkable portrayal.” Stephen Bates, The Review Hub

“McDermott is appealingly sparky and changeable as Seta.” Alice Saville, Time Out

“Magnificently portrayed by McDermott.” J2 Close-Up Culture

“A sparkling lead performance from Zarima McDermott, an actress about whom we are surely destined to hear considerably more.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“Zarima McDermott’s luminous, resourceful Seta.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“Zarima McDermott’s portrayal of the main character, Seta, is particularly enchanting.” Karelia Scott-Daniels, UK Theatre Network

“George Jovanovic makes a convincingly conflicted Aram.” Dave Fergnoli, The Stage

“A beautifully judged performance by George Jovanovic.” Stephen Bates, The Review Hub

“Jovanovic portrays Aram with a perfect mix of zeal, machismo, chauvinism and kindness.” J2 Close-Up Culture

“Hayward B Morse is accomplished.” J2, Close-Up Culture

“Hayward B Morse…is spellbinding.” William Russell, Reviewsgate

“Hayward B Morse provides an excellent anchor as the elderly narrator and amuses as a 12-year-old orphan boy.” Tim Conwell, The Arts Desk

“In her sensitive production director Jelena Budimir is blessed with an extraordinary pair of lead actors.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“Jelena Budimir’s powerful production…is a joy to behold with strong performances from each of the cast.” Karelia Scott-Daniels, UK Theatre Network

“It's an important reminder of a time when America may have been poorer but was a lot more welcoming than the one we see today.” Keith Mckenna, British Theatre Guide

“Brought to life by fine storytelling and full-blooded characters, beautifully framed by Sarah Jane Booth’s warmly coloured screens.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance


“Humane, funny and touching, Beast on the Moon presents the claims of both past and future with fairness and empathy.” Paul Taylor, The Independent

“Beast on the Moon builds with such tension and heartbreak, celebrates the gift of life with such wisdom and power, that an audience simply has no recourse but to shout its joy and gratitude...You can’t afford to miss it.” William Mootz, Louisville Courier Journal

“The play has garnered worldwide acclaim. New York was long overdue… simply magnificent.” Harry Forbes, BackStage

“This is a deep and moving piece that educates while it entertains.” Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, Newcity Stage

“Compassionate and humane” The New Yorker

“One of five must-see plays in New York...The play moves from tragedy and turmoil to a profound sense of promise.” Howard Kissel, The New York Daily News


“Jelena Budimir’s lean, swift production is very well acted… It’s a play that provokes thought while keeping you entertained.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Philadelphia-based Graham deftly crystallises the characters’ surface-deep prejudices and privileges, asking big questions about power and race. It’s politically charged and exhilarating.” ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Fergus Morgan, The Stage

“Thought-provoking, surprisingly unpreachy and will live in the mind long after other plays have faded.”  ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆  Gary Naylor, Broadway World UK


Discussions are after the evening performance and are free to ticketholders for that evening's performance. 

The run will be accompanied by the FINBOROUGHFORUM, a series of informal post-show discussions and debates. All events are free to ticketholders for that evening's performance of the play. FINBOROUGHFORUM events will be twitter friendly with live tweets from @FinboroughForum. Using the hashtag #finfor, the speakers will also answer questions posed on Twitter so everyone can be included, no matter where they are in the world. The events feature discussion with academics, writers and members of the cast and company.

Q&A with Richard Kalinoski
Wednesday, 30 January after the evening performance
Join Richard Kalinoski, the writer of Beast on the Moon, in conversation with the cast and director for a post-show discussion and Q&A.

The Armenian Genocide and Refugees
Saturday, 2 February after the evening performance
Hosted by Ara Sarafian (Gomidas Institute) and Misak Ohanian (Centre for Armenian Information and Advice).

The Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of the modern era. It led to the destruction of an entire nation on its ancestral lands and created a refugee crisis of biblical proportions. Hundreds and thousands of women and children who survived the genocide were eventually collected in safe-houses, orphanages and refugee communities - and then dispersed throughout the world in what became the Armenian diaspora we know today.

Rewriting of history

Wednesday, 6 February after the evening performance

Hosted by Sally Gimson (Index on Censorship)

Join Index on Censorship deputy editor Sally Gimson in conversation with the cast and director for a post-show discussion and Q&A following a performance of Beast on the Moon. Index on Censorship is an award-winning global quarterly magazine that campaigns for free expression, publishes work by censored writers, promotes debate and monitors threat to free speech. 

History of Beast on the Moon

Friday, 8 February after the evening performance

Hosted by Nouritza Matossian in association with the Armenian Institute

Join Nouritza Matossian in conversation with the cast and director for a post-show discussion and Q&A.

Nouritza Matossian is a writer, actor, film-maker, broadcaster and human rights activist. She supported the first ever production of Beast on the Moon at the Battersea Arts Centre in 1996.

This post-show discussion touches on the history of the play from its very beginnings in London and explores with the director and cast the cultural and emotional phantoms which threaten to break apart the immigrant couple. 

Blessed are the Peacemakers
Wednesday, 13 February after the evening performance
Hosted by Ara Sarafian (Gomidas Institute)

Despite the bitter legacy of the Armenian Genocide, many civil society and political groups in Turkey broke ranks with their own government in recent years and initiated a reconciliation process with Armenians. The Municipality of Diyarbakir, one of the largest cities in Turkey, took the lead in this process by showing contrition and beginning a healing process. This included the reconstruction of one of the largest churches in the Middle East in the city - Sourp Giragos Armenian Apostolic church - and inviting Armenians to call the city their own.


Tuesday, 29 January – Saturday, 23 February 2019

Tuesday to Sunday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees at 3.00pm. (from 9 February 2019)

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

Prices until 10 February 2019

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
Previews (29 January and 30 January) £14 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£14 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 2 February 2019 when booked online only.

Prices from 12 February 2019

Tickets £20, £18 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £18 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £20 all seats. 

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



Book Tickets for Beast On The Moon

Tuesday, 29 January – Saturday, 23 February 2019

Please note that if a show is marked as Sold Out, there are no more tickets available. Please do NOT contact the theatre as we have no more tickets left for these shows. Please see our returns and exchanges policy for more information.

Directed by Jelena Budimir

Set and Costume Design by Sarah Jane Booth

Lighting Design by Matt Cater

Sound Design by Joe Dines

Presented by All Ignite Theatre in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.