Simon Russell Beale stars in Timon of Athens from August 2012

Posted: 28th June 2012
Beale takes on the role of Shakespeare's titular Athenian at the National's Olivier Theatre until October, tickets on sale now (and selling well)

Conspicuous consumption, suffocating levels of debt and spending well beyond available means -notions familiar to anyone who reads the UK's political press or who marvelled at the endlessly improving NHS not realising it was being paid for with numbers, not actual money.

These motifs are nothing new, of course, all rooted in the greed and fallibility of man, dubious qualities as old as mankind itself. And the kind of thing that Shakespeare was so good at capturing and laying out for our entertainment. Something he did expertly in his 1623 work, Timon of Athens.

The protagonist is a wealthy, influential friend to the city's powerful elite and rich glitterati. Ostentatious shows of fiscal power mask huge debt and, broken in every sense, Timon withdraws from Athens in the literal and figurative sense, wishing curses on a 'morally bankrupt' Athens. Hailed by the Independent as the 'greatest stage actor of his generation', Simon Russell Beale is charged with bringing Timon's ancient story to life in this Nicholas Hytner-directed adaptation.

Timon of Athens opens at the Oliver Theatre on Saturday 4th August, running until 31st October 2012. We have tickets available now, priced from as little as £12, rising to £32 for the very best stalls. Most of the August performances and some in September now have limited ticket availability, so do not delay.

The production also forms part of Kids Week 2012 which takes place throughout August when, for every adult ticket purchased for selected performances, one child goes free. Up to two additional child tickets can be purchased at half price.

Stewart Darkin