Box Office: 01904 623568

Event Details

Venue: Main House

Date: Fri 05 Oct - Sat 27 Oct

Time: 7.30pm (with 2pm Thu and 2.30pm Sat matinees)

Produced by: York Theatre Royal and Vroom Productions

Written by: Susan Watkins

Directed by: Damian Cruden

Designed by: Joanna Scotcher

Lighting: Richard G Jones

Sound: John Leonard

Musical Director and Arranger: Christopher Madin

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Reviews

The Press - Preview: The Guinea Pig Club

Mon 08 Oct 2012

Written by Steve Pratt

Two visionary and inspirational men from the world of medicine are at the heart of York Theatre Royal’s premiere of The Guinea Pig Club.

YorkMix - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Thu 11 Oct 2012

Written by Helen Cadbury

The Guinea Pig Club opens in an empty Second World War hangar. Over the course of the evening, this space is filled with the extraordinary story of Archibald McIndoe (played with warmth by Graham Hawley), a pioneering plastic surgeon, and the airmen whose lives he saved.

The Stage - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 12 Oct 2012

Written by Will Ramsey

Susan Watkins has described it as the “miracle of ward three”. And while the playwright’s drama doesn’t shirk from the horrors of war, it creates something glorious and transformative in its telling of one man’s determination to help those scarred by battle.

York Theatre Royal Ambassadors - Reviews: The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 12 Oct 2012

Written by Ellie, Hannah, Phoebe, Chris and Jessica

The Guinea Pig Club is a truly unique piece based on the saddening and yet uplifting story of the disfigured RAF pilots of World War II.

The Pocklington Post - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 12 Oct 2012

Written by Julia Pattison

Every journey begins with the first step, and this latest production presented by York Theatre Royal shows how a remarkable man, Sir Archibald McIndoe, inspired patients who had little hope of survival, to take not only their first step towards connecting with the outside world, but to make great strides too.

The Press - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 12 Oct 2012

Written by Julian Cole

You Do wonder what sort of a play this might be, on hearing that it concerns disfigured Second World War airmen and the pioneering surgeon whose work to heal these men, body, soul and sexual libido, took him and them beyond the very edge of what was considered the proper ways of doing things.

The British Theatre Guide - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 12 Oct 2012

Written by Mark Smith

The Guinea Pig Club was formed in June 1941 among patients treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead for extreme burns and other potentially critical injuries resulting from plane crashes and malfunctions. This play sets out to tell the remarkable story of a group of these patients and the surgeon, Archibald McIndoe, whose techniques revolutionised not just the medical field but also the lives of so many wounded men.

Your Local Link - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Mon 15 Oct 2012

Written by

This thoughtful and clever play is based on a true story about a revolutionary surgeon and the unorthodox way he transformed his patients’ lives.

The Yorker - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Mon 15 Oct 2012

Written by Elisabeth Shuker

Susan Watkins began writing The Guinea Pig Club after she met one of Sir Archibald McIndoe’s ‘Guinea Pigs’. McIndoe was an experimental reconstructive plastic surgeon during the Second World War who treated victims of war with serious burn injuries. Watkin’s play presents not only the physical achievements of McIndoe, but also captures the essence of the pain, desperation and eventual hope that the patients, known as the Guinea Pigs, experienced.

The Yorkshire Post - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Mon 15 Oct 2012

Written by Lauren Masterman

The remarkable story of Dr. Archibald McIndoe and his Guinea Pig Club may have originally provided a mere side-plot to the events of World War II but this autumn York Theatre Royal has given the astonishing tale of pain, hope and humanity the recognition it deserves with this brave performance.

Plays To See - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Wed 17 Oct 2012

Written by Kate Bull

The Guinea Pig Club, written by Susan Watkins, premiered this week at York Theatre Royal. Based on a true story, the play follows the story of a pioneering plastic surgeon during the World War II. Archibald McIndoe applied dexterity and care to the burned and crippled bodies of RAF pilots who were wounded in action, and training exercises.As Dr Ludwig Guttmann refused to give up on his paralysed patients at Stoke Newington, the Sussex town of East Grinstead was populated with wounded pilots who were encouraged to continue to live in the outside world, rather than hide away with (and behind) their battle scars.

York Theatre Royal Ambassadors - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Wed 17 Oct 2012

Written by Emma Cawthorne

The Guinea Pig Club was an amazing and thought provoking piece of theatre which portrayed the characters realistically and convincingly, therefore allowing the audience to empathise with the situations. The fact that it was a true story meant also that the audience connected with the story and as a result, much of those watching the play felt emotionally involved- particularly the elderly who were more likely to have had experiences with the war.

Yorkshire Gig Guide - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Thu 18 Oct 2012

Written by Eve Winterburn

Bold and brash a play of conflicts and surprises with touches of humour and the spirit of war time, The Guinea Pig Club written by Susan Watkins lands at York Theatre Royal deftly directed by Damian Cruden and warmly received by Wednesdays audience.

The Guardian - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 19 Oct 2012

Written by Alfred Hickling

Damian Cruden's production expertly recreates the camaraderie of the ward, though Graeme Hawley's McIndoe emerges as a deeply conflicted character – a caustic Kiwi whose fondness for mind games and whose...

The Northern Echo - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Mon 22 Oct 2012

Written by Steve Pratt

How pleasing to report that The Guinea Pig Club – the story of the maverick surgeon who pioneered the treatment of badly burnt Second World War air crews – succeeds on all counts.

The Observer - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Tue 23 Oct 2012

Written by Clare Brennan

Writer Susan Watkins's debut drama about the second world war pilots who became the "guinea pigs" for innovative plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe delivers a great story in a deceptively simple and direct style, economically conveyed through Damian Cruden's incisive direction.

The Telegraph - Review: The Guinea Pig Club

Wed 24 Oct 2012

Written by Tim Walker

This play about the plastic surgery given to injured RAF pilots in the Second World War is a compelling celebration of the human spirit

The Guinea Pig Club

The Guinea Pig Club

The Guinea Pig Club

       ★★★★★ THE TELEGRAPH     

★★★★ THE GUARDIAN

 

At the outset of World War II cosmetic surgeon Archibald McIndoe - whose expertise in fashioning the noses of starlets brings him fame but not fulfillment - must abandon plans for retirement to pioneer the most challenging procedures in surgical history, including the complete reconstruction of the human face. His new group of patients: the savagely burned fighter pilots and aircrew who helped to thwart the German invasion of Britain.

But McIndoe soon discovers that all his efforts in the operating theatre are futile unless he can also save the shattered man behind the face. ‘For what good is a face without a man – a whole man?’ This then becomes his mission - and his own salvation.

Emotions run the gamut from poignant to hilarious while challenging our attitudes towards beauty and its relevance to success.

 

"a moving and funny play which stands as a hymn to the glories of stubborn humanity"

York Press

 

"Watkins’ drama deserves multiple viewings."

The Stage

 

"this production is well worth a visit"

British Theatre Guide

 

"The power of this true story is immense"

Backstage Pass

 

"tells a story that needed to be told, very well indeed”

PlaystoSee.com

 

"infused with humour… beautifully paced and visually stunning"

York Mix

 

"Stefano Braschi's performance is raw and heart-breaking"

The Yorker

 

"triumphant characterisation"

The Yorkshire Times

 

"The cast were given a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the performance; this is a play not to be missed."

Pocklington Post

Related News

Vroom vroom: The Guinea Pig's Formula One connection

Wed 07 Nov 2012

Hosting the world premier of Susan Watkins’ The Guinea Pig Club led to York Theatre Royal becoming a beacon for Formula One greats this October.

5 Star Review and more praise for The Guinea Pig Club

Wed 24 Oct 2012

The Telegraph awarded 5 stars to The Guinea Pig Club at the weekend to add to the collection of positive national newspaper reviews that the production has garnered, including ones from The Guardian and The Observer. This week sees the final perfomances, so don't miss out!

5 Star Review and more praise for The Guinea Pig Club

Behind the Stage Door: Exploring York Theatre Royal Part II

Tue 23 Oct 2012

In part I of the Exploring York Theatre Royal series, the first act of the theatre’s history was played out as naughty nuns and innovative thespians set the stage for York Theatre Royal’s beginnings. Now, as we move deeper into the theatre, it’s time to lay aside the medieval history textbooks and turn our attention to the nitty gritty world of acting and performance. For away from the bright lights of the stage, a whole myriad of spaces and hide-outs open up, riddled with the history of theatre .

The Telegraph: Sir Jackie Stewart's tribute to the 'guinea pigs'

Mon 15 Oct 2012

From The Telegraph: Sir Jackie Stewart joins the RAF airmen who were badly burnt during the war at a special performance of Susan Watkins's inspiring play, The Guinea Pig Club

‘Midsomer’s fun, but this story needs to be told’ - YorkMix interview with Fiona Dolman

Thu 11 Oct 2012

Fiona spoke to YorkMix about The Guinea Pig Club, her television roles and her acting heroes.

‘Midsomer’s fun, but this story needs to be told’ - YorkMix interview with Fiona Dolman

Dr Sandy Saunders attends The Guinea Pig Club premiere at York Theatre Royal

Tue 09 Oct 2012

Second World War glider pilot, Dr Sandy Saunders, was the guest of honour at the premiere of a play about the plastic surgeon who helped transform his life.

Dr Sandy Saunders attends The Guinea Pig Club premiere at York Theatre Royal

The Guinea Pig Club Blog Post 5

Mon 08 Oct 2012

A blog post from our Assistant Director on the opening night of the show.

Damian Cruden On ...The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 05 Oct 2012

Fresh from directing The York Mystery Plays, Damian Cruden is now in his fifteenth year at York Theatre Royal. Whats On Stage caught up with him during rehearsals for a new play by Susan Watkins. Interview by Sue Casson.

The Guinea Pig Club Blog Post 5

Mon 01 Oct 2012

Things are hotting up as we move into the last few days before opening. Hear the news from the inside with Ruby...

Guinea Pig Club Preview from York Press

Mon 01 Oct 2012

During rehearsals the cast of upcoming the Main House show spoke to a member of the actual Guinea Pig Club in a visit to a local Air base. Here they speak of the experience and of the production

What the Devil did next: Interview with Graeme Hawley

Mon 01 Oct 2012

Whilst Marlowe’s hapless Doctor Faustus may have seen a sticky and unfortunate end for his dangerous dealings with Lucifer, actor Graeme Hawley seems to have got off pretty lightly with his brush with the devil. For the former Coronation Street star thankfully bears no traces of the devilish alter-ego that has stalked him throughout this summer as he nightly performed the arduous tasks of damning mankind and battling with God, transformed into the ultimate baddy, Satan, for the York Mystery Plays 2012.

The Guinea Pig Club Blog Post 4

Mon 24 Sep 2012

Hear how rehearsals are going from Ruby, our Assistant Director on The Guinea Pig Club. Last week saw the first run through of the play.

The Guinea Pig Club Blog Post 3

Wed 19 Sep 2012

The third instalment from our Assistant Director, Ruby, after the first week of rehearsals.

The Guinea Pig Club Blog Post 2

Wed 12 Sep 2012

Second Blog from Ruby Clarke, Assistant Director of The Guinea Pig Club

The Guinea Pig Club Blog

Fri 07 Sep 2012

Ruby Clarke, Assistant Director on The Guinea Pig Club shares her experience of making a York Theatre Royal show.

Graeme Hawley set to star in The Guinea Pig Club

Fri 07 Sep 2012

York Mystery Plays 2012 star Graeme Hawley is set for a speedy return to the City of York after landing the lead role of maverick plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe in York Theatre Royal and Vroom Productions play The Guinea Pig Club.

 

 

Accessibility Information

 

Multimedia

The Guinea Pig Club Rehearsal Photographs

The Guinea Pig Club Rehearsal Photographs

Graeme Hawley and Damain Cruden take a break from rehearsals

Graeme Hawley and Damain Cruden take a break from rehearsals

The Guinea Pig Club Production images

The Guinea Pig Club Production images

The Guinea Pig Club read through at Yorkshire Air Museum

The Guinea Pig Club read through at Yorkshire Air Museum

Production Trailer

Production Trailer

The Guinea Pig Club Rehearsal Video

The Guinea Pig Club Rehearsal Video