The Libertine | Theatre Royal, Haymarket | Review

The Libertine

The Libertine | Review

As you walk in for the performance of The Libertine  some of the cast are wandering around the stage and down in the stalls interacting with the audience, which sets the scene well for this bawdy, rude romp of a play.

Supposedly based on true events, the story tells of the life of the Earl of Rochester (Dominic Cooper), who is playwright, poet and rogue in equal measure.

He leads a full life of debauchery and excess, and prides himself on his relationship with King Charles II. He has a poor suffering wife (played by Alice Bailey Johnson) who puts up with his numerous affairs until his encounter with actress Elizabeth Barry (Ophelia Lovibond) seems to stop him in his tracks. Could she be the woman that finally will tame the beast?

The supporting cast add even more character to the play and both Cooper and Lovibond give a convincing, funny and impressive performance. You will be amused and possibly appalled by some of the content, but ultimately entertained.

Reviewer : Lisa Felton

The Libertine is being performed at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 22 September until 3 December.

Book Tickets.


The Libertine was first performed on tour and at the Royal Court Theatre alongside the Restoration comedy, The Man of Mode, which presented another, contemporary view of Rochester. It later transferred to Chicago’s Steppenwolf starring John Malkovich and directed by Terry Johnson before Johnny Depp took the title role in the 2004 film adaptation.

The Libertine is produced by TRH Productions, and Theatre Royal Bath Productions with Ilene Starger as Executive Producer.