National Theatre Live: Collaborators


A new play by John Hodge (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave)

Starring Alex Jennings (as Mikhail Bulgakov) and Simon Russell Beale (as Joseph Stalin)

Directed by Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys, Hamlet, One Man, Two Guvnors)

Strictly limited season: SAT JANUARY 14 and SUN JANUARY 15 at 1pm (Additional screenings at select cinemas)

Running time: 3 hours 15 minutes approximately including interval

Download cast sheet

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Moscow, 1938. A dangerous place to have a sense of humour; even more so a sense of freedom.

Mikhail Bulgakov, living among dissidents, stalked by secret police, has both. And then he’s offered a poisoned chalice: a commission to write a play about Stalin to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. Inspired by historical fact, Collaborators embarks on a surreal journey into the fevered imagination of the writer as he loses himself in a macabre and disturbingly funny relationship with the omnipotent subject of his drama.

Killing my enemies is easy. The challenge is to change the way they think, to control their minds.  And I think I controlled yours pretty well. In years to come, I’ll be able to say: Bulgakov? Yeah, we even trained him. He gave up. He saw the light. We broke him, we can break anybody. It’s man versus monster, Mikhail. And the monster always wins.

John Hodge’s blistering new play depicts a lethal game of cat and mouse through which the appalling compromises and humiliations inflicted on any artist by those with power are held up to scrutiny.  Alex Jennings plays Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale, Stalin.


4 STARS 'Dream casting of Alex Jennings as Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale as Stalin... A truly tremendous double act which thrills, chills and makes you laugh out loud - even though you know you shouldn't.' - Daily Telegraph (UK)

4 STARS ‘Collaborators is fresh and energetic, with a thick, throbbing vein of grotesque humour.' - Evening Standard (UK)

4 STARS ‘Rare and special… An absurdly fantastic view of Stalin, and it’s seriously funny.’ - The Times (UK)



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