OPENS TONIGHT Payback Time: London Premiere of ‘Death of a Theatre Critic’ – Part of Theatrical Exchange Initiative 'From-Start-to-Finnish'

-      ‘From Start to Finnish’ is a theatrical exchange programme bringing new work and adaptations to the UK and taking new British work to Finland - ultimately aiming to foster exciting international partnerships.

-       ‘Death of a Theatre Critic’ second of two acclaimed plays to run in London, 1-5 May at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington. Press:; 020 7221 7883

-       Edinburgh programme of new work 1 – 27 August (see below)

Images and press releases:

The London programme for From Start to Finnish continues with the London premiere of Death of a Theatre Critic (1-5 May, the Pleasance Theatre, Islington). Premiered at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe to great acclaim, Joakim Groth’s work is a dark comedy about chance and destiny following the hardships of a theatre director. After having his latest production torn to pieces by the leading critic, he then encounters misfortune in his private life as well. Alone and unhappy he goes all-in on one card to put everything right again. A decision with unforeseen consequences…

PRESS TICKETS:; 020 7221 7883

From-Start-to-Finnish’ is a new initiative developed by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and the Pleasance Theatre with the assistance of and ACE Production, Finland. It taps into Finland’s astonishing theatrical tradition – there are more theatres per capita than almost anywhere else in the world and 3.6m tickets are bought annually by a population of only 5.2m. The From Start to Finnish Programme brings new work and adaptations to the UK and takes new British work to Finland. At the same time, new contexts offer fresh insights and perspectives on existing works. The programme ultimately aims to foster strong links between the theatre industries of the UK and Finland, with the aim to develop a vibrant, international partnership.

‘Death of a Theatre Critic’ follows the London premiere of ‘The Overcoat’, a modern reinterpretation - staged by UK actors and directed by Scots-Finnish talent Aleksis Meaney.- of the Nikolai Gogol’s classic, which takes its audience on a whistle-stop tour of the last forty years of banking history. The work’s 2011 Fringe debut won Billy Mack the prize for Best Actor for his role as lead character Akaky Akakievich (Akaky McAkaky).

Edinburgh programme announced 1-27 August (

Continuous Growth, Pleasance Queen Dome, daily 12:10 - 13:35

Produced by Ryhmätetatteri (The Groupe Theatre) and written by Esa Leskinen and Sami Keski-Vähälä, Continuous Growth is a timely comedy about work and productivity and forms a loose sequel to their other work, The Overcoat. The production follows the amazing and eventful story of Antero Alapylpyrä, an ordinary family man and standard-issue engineer, who loses his job, starts a business, and manages to mess up the entire global economy in never-before-seen ways. 

With its deft comic touch, the play examines the need of ordinary individuals to find meaning amidst chaos, debt and a runaway global economy.  

My Elevator Days, Pleasance Upstairs, daily 12:30 - 13:40

Produced by Svenska Teatern (The Swedish Theatre), Helsinki, My Elevator Days is the tragicomical monologue of one man as he reflects on life; his dog who loved poetry, his visit to a sex club (which was a failure), his lifelong affection to Grace Kelly, and his mysterious meeting with a girl named Diana… - talking in turns to the audience and to the elevator, his only companion.

The play is the work of Bengt Ahlfors (born 1937), one of the leading playwrights in Scandinavia, who directed the first production of My Elevator Days in 2006 in Helsinki, where it is still running. For the Edinburgh debut Ahlfors will also be taking the lead role.

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Press contacts and images:

Contact Kallaway for further information:

William Kallaway T: 020 7221 7883 E:

Susannah Glynn, T: 020 7221 7883 E:

About ‘From Start to Finnish’

‘From Start to Finnish’ began with a meeting between the Finnish Minister for Culture and Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2009. Following the development of a two-year relationship which saw Finnish work receive critical acclaim at Edinburgh in 2010 and 2011, an official exchange initiative will be launched in April 2012. The first ‘From Start to Finnish’ programme will see the London premiere of two acclaimed Finnish works, a dedicated programme of new and adapted Finnish works at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the showcasing of new British work to a Finnish audience.

‘From Start to Finnish’, which is set to be a three-year programme, has been made possible by support from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

About the Pleasance Theatre


The Pleasance, a registered charity, was founded by Christopher Richardson in 1985 to present, support and develop the very best British talent at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In order to continue developing the work it was supporting on the Fringe, in 1995 the Pleasance built two theatres in Islington, North London. In 2004, Anthony Alderson took over the Directorship with the intention to further the opportunities The Pleasance offers by developing the touring platform, increasing the number of venues in Edinburgh, expanding the site in London, and exploring new art-forms.

The Pleasance is now one of the most valued cornerstones for the entertainment industry in this country. Over its 27-year history the organisation has created performance space and provided facilities and support for over 5000 productions, that have to date involved over 40,000 people within the arts and theatre industry.

The Pleasance has been the launch-pad and test-bed for the work of some of our best loved comedians, actors, directors, writers, producers and technicians, including Mitchell and Webb, The League of Gentlemen, Michael McIntyre, Paul Merton, Stephen K Amos, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Stewart Lee, Graham Norton, Arthur Smith, Caroline Quentin, The Mighty Boosh, Theatre de Complicité, Ed Hall, Rufus Norris, Daniel Rigby, Julian Clary, Steve Coogan, Dara O’Briain and Hugh Dennis and many more.