Russell Barr, Ian Redford, Trudie Styler: photos by Robert Workman and Tristram Kenton

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4 STARS “A rare treat” Michael Billington, The Guardian

Irritable, generous, seriously depressed yet a great wit: meet Samuel “Dictionary” Johnson – poet, essayist and lexicographer. This evening of stories and conversation brings to life some of the most colourful figures of the eighteenth century.Ian Redford reprises his much-praised performance as Johnson in a play that features a host of characters from biographer James Boswell, painter Joshua Reynolds and King George III to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s saviour Flora Macdonald, and Hester Thrale – the society hostess who was Johnson’s final, unrequited love.

“Ian Redford is as close to the real Dr Johnson as one could ever hope to see onstage” Time Out, on A Laughing Matter

Director Max Stafford-Clark says: “A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson continue’s Out of Joint’s tradition of literary biography. The Libertine was about George Etherege and the Earl of Rochester; A Laughing Matter introduced us to the world of Dr Johnson, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith and Joshua Reynolds; and the recent Andersen’s English depicted the visit of Hans Christian Andersen to Charles Dickens.

“With A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson we return to the fascinating world of the great Dr Johnson. Until the middle of the 19th Century only the two patent houses, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, were permitted to present drama. So when Samuel Foote, Johnson’s contemporary, presented his evening of comic impersonations and vignettes it was billed as ‘An Invitation to a Dish of Chocolate with Samuel Foote’. From him we have purloined our title.”

A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson toured extensively, and enjoyed a transfer to the Arts Theatre in the West End.