Review Roundup: THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT At Ealing Studios

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Read reviews for Sean Foley's hotly anticipated stage adaptation of the classic Ealing Studios comedy The Man in the White Suit.

The production recently embarked on a three week engagement at Theatre Royal Bath before its world premiere at the Wyndham's Theatre, London, with performances from 27th September 2019 until 11th January 2020 and opening night on 8th October 2019.

Leading the cast of The Man in the White Suit are Stephen Mangan as Sidney Stratton, Kara Tointon as Daphne Birnley and Sue Johnston* as Mrs Watson. They are joined by Richard Cordery as Birnley, Richard Durden as Sir John, with Delroy Atkinson, Katie Bernstein, Ben Deery, Matthew Durkan, Rina Fatania, Oliver Kaderbhai, Eugene McCoy, Elliott Rennie and Katherine Toy.

The Man in the White Suit is adapted for the stage and directed by double Olivier Award-winning writer, actor and director Sean Foley and has set and costume design by award-winning designer Michael Taylor.

Brand new songs have been written for this world premiere production by Charlie Fink, known for fronting indie-folk band 'Noah and the Whale' as well as being a composer for theatre and film including The Lorax (Old Vic) and A Street Cat Named Bob.

Choreography is by Lizzi Gee, lighting by the Tony Award-winning Mark Henderson, sound and incidental music by brothers Ben Ringham and Max Ringham, fights directed by Alison De Burgh and songs arranged by Phil Bateman.

When Sidney Stratton develops a fabric that never gets dirty and never wears out, manufacturers and trades unions are terrified by the threat it poses to their industry and their jobs. Only Daphne, the mill owner's daughter, shows Stratton any sympathy as his world gradually falls apartbefore he finally finds love and a new idea.

The 1951 iconic Ealing Studios comedy film starred Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood and Cecil Parker. It was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing (Screenplay).

This world premiere production reunites Stephen Mangan and Sean Foley who created the Olivier Award winning comedy Jeeves and Woostertogether. Foley has also teamed up again with Michael Taylor with whom he created the five times Olivier Award nominated The Ladykillers.

Based on the play The Flower Within the Bud by Roger MacDougall and screenplay by Roger MacDougall, John Dighton and Alexander Mackendrick, this world premiere production of The Man in the White Suit is presented by Jenny King, Jonathan Church, Matthew Gale and Mark Goucher, by special arrangement with Studiocanal.


Debbie Gilpin, BroadwayWorld: A 1950s Ealing comedy probably wouldn't be your first port of call when trying to think of a timely film to adapt for the stage, whilst also giving people an opportunity for a much-needed laugh. However, The Man in the White Suit has managed it in one perfect package. Sean Foley has adapted and directed this stage production, which has now opened on the West End following a short run at Theatre Royal Bath.

Michael Billington, The Guardian: This is Sean Foley's version of a beloved movie that depicted a stagnant Britain in which capital and labour unite to thwart innovation. What was once a deliciously subversive Ealing comedy has, however, now become a riotously busy squealing farce. It's enjoyable on its own terms and boasts a fine performance from Stephen Mangan but it lacks the Ealing touch.

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph: Director Alexander Mackendrick accentuated the murk and gloom - the grime that needs pulverising - in the northern town through which the idealistic boffin winds up running, chased by an indignant mob. With its satirical swipes at the unconsidered side-effects of progress, the power of vested interests and the value and cost of monomania, it's more Ibsen's An Enemy of the People than that Northern comedy Hobson's Choice (to which it bears some resemblance, what with its helpful boss's daughter and lowly, canny hero).

Natasha Tripney, The Stage: There are some committed comic performances in this new stage version of 1951 Ealing comedy The Man in the White Suit. But they're in danger of being smothered by Sean Foley's overly broad production, stuffed to the brim with slapstick, fart jokes and people getting smacked in the knackers.

David Benedict, Variety: As a rule of thumb, when adapting something, changing the tone and/or style for the New Medium is a wise move - so long as the rethink fits or improves the original. If only that were the case with this fitfully amusing but enervating stage adaptation of "The Man in the White Suit."

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