The Hampstead Players


Directed by Matthew Williams

The Alchemist is one of Jonson's great comedies. Whilst Shakespeare's comedies are often romantic, Jonson's tend to be bitingly satirical, exposing people's weaknesses and foibles. In this respect The Alchemist is no exception, attacking greed, vanity, gullibility and much else besides. These are universal failings, common to every age, and his satire feels surprisingly familiar to a modern audience. It is tightly plotted - indeed Coleridge claimed, perhaps extravagantly, that it has one of the three most perfect plots in literature. The audience is unsure how things will turn out until the very end. It is also very funny.