Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke

Reprint Productions present The Ruby in the Smoke, a detective story that delights in its Victorian setting, following the adventures of resourceful Sally Lockhart. Much like the novel by Philip Pullman that it is based on, it appeals to both young and old.

There’s murder, there’s mystery, there’s opium, intrigue ... an excellent piece of storytelling

Being a fan of the books, I am always inordinately pleased when performances bring to life the stories that I love without feeling that they need to change them simply for the sake of putting their mark on it. For those whom books are less important to, suffice to say that Philip Pullman is an excellent storyteller and in sticking to his work this production already has a well-structured, well-researched and intriguing tale.

It’s a shame that the cast have to deal with a small venue for a play that has a pretty large scope, which means that as they run almost in circles around their set we change from open moorland to opium den. The cast has to deal with a few more characters than they have actors for, too, but they do a good job of changing both scene and character at the drop of a hat (or the addition of a shawl), and so as long as you pay attention you should figure out whether we’re in a photography studio or an Indian palace and who’s who at that point. The cast work hard as the story moves on at a pretty fast rate, but they are definitely up for the task. With competent actors and a little help from the backstage crew—who get the excitement of using a smoke machine at some points—this is a well-produced show.

There’s murder, there’s mystery, there’s opium, intrigue and a priceless ruby. Amidst all the clue-cracking and danger-of-death activity, though, the cast fit in a few laughs, with particular highlights being the enthusiastic Jim Taylor and the bashful Frederick Garland, and their showdown against Mrs Holland and her goon Mr Berry near the end. This is an excellent piece of storytelling brought to life in an enjoyable show.

Reviews by Fiona Mossman

Gilded Balloon at the Museum

The Snow Queen

Assembly George Square Studios

Sarah Kendall: Shaken

Underbelly, Cowgate

The Hours Before We Wake

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Wendy Wason: Tiny Me

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

The Female Question

Paradise in Augustines

Lest We Forget


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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Working in collaboration with Philip Pullman (creator of His Dark Materials), the bestselling novel comes to life on stage for the first time. After her father's mysterious death, Sally Lockhart is thrown into the heart of Victorian London, battling unseen forces to uncover the secrets he left behind. Strap yourselves in for a tale of breathtaking intrigue, unforgettable characters, and, behind everything, a legendary ruby waiting to be found...

Most Popular See More


From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets