Hughie

Tucked away upstairs at The Gilded Balloon, nestling right at the heart of comedy central, is an absolute gem which is a must-see for any devotees of real theatre.

A haunting theatrical gem

One of Eugene O’Neill’s last plays, Hughie sees sad act hustler Erie Smith bluster and bloviate around the hotel lobby of his shabby New York hotel in the small hours of the morning. As he tells tall stories of his luck with the ladies and the horses, new night clerk Charlie Hughes pops pills and struggles to maintain interest and requisite politeness.

And that’s about it. The premise is so fragile in its simplicity that it allows its actors (an immaculately on-form Mike McShane as Charlie and Phil Nichol as Erie) free rein to inhabit their characters with exquisite nuance; Erie reminiscing about the previous porter - the Hughie of the title - and Charlies hollow eyes suggesting all the emptiness of a life unrealised. As Nichol peacocks about the stage, Erie increasingly feels the lack of an approving acolyte to bolster his ego and stabilise his grand claims. Whilst McShane stands, stiff-backed behind the lobby counter, Charlie’s face suggests a profound discomfort with life, but one that the audience has to work to understand on their own terms.

Truthful, stark and achingly real, Hughie has a haunting quality that will linger long after you’ve left the venue. And as with all great drama, what has not been said tugs insistently at the synapses far into the night.

Reviews by Rebecca Vines

Pump House Theatre

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

★★★★
A Company 6 Scots

I Am Gavrilo Princip

★★★★
London, England

Iain Dale: All Talk with Alastair Campbell

★★★★
The Space UK

Five Lock Down

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Comedians Theatre Company presents this rare one-act play which illustrates how our lives are shaped by the people we meet. Originally produced on Broadway, revived to sellout houses in 1996 starring Al Pacino, Hughie was one of Eugene O'Neill's last works. Originally intended as part of a series of short plays entitled By Way of Obit, it became the lone survivor when O'Neill destroyed the others. Starring Mike McShane (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and Phil Nichol (Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner).

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets