Not Quite Jerusalem

by Paul Kember

3 - 28 March 2020

“ All I’m talking about is this. Democracy. Having a say in your own affairs. Taking decisions about your own lives ...It’s not like that in England. ”

The first new UK production for 40 years

In a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a play written in the year the Finborough Theatre opened, the first new UK production in 40 years of Paul Kember’s award-winning 1980 comedy-drama.

It’s 1979, and Mike, Carrie, Pete and Dave have fled grim, divided England for the sunshine, sex, beer and bagels of a Israeli kibbutz. Only to find that what was supposed to be a working holiday is more like hard labour in 100-degree temperatures.

Pete and Dave soon alienate themselves with their foul-mouthed, high-spirited behaviour. Carrie desperately tries to fit in, but cannot relate to either her fellow-countrymen or the Israelis. Only Cambridge drop-out Mike seems able to articulate what it means to be young, conflicted, English, and a very long way from home. Until, that is, he meets no-nonsense kibbutznik Gila…

First presented at the Royal Court Theatre in 1980 where it broke box office records and revived there in 1982 (with casts including David Threlfall, Phil Davis, Kevin McNally, Selina Cadell and Bruce Alexander), Not Quite Jerusalem won first-time playwright Paul Kember the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award.

This production contains strong language.


Playwright Paul Kember won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright for Not Quite Jerusalem, his first play. He spent five years as a journalist in Liverpool before training as an actor at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. As an actor, he was a founding member of the influential Joint Stock Theatre Company, for twenty years Britain’s leading experimental theatre company. He also appeared in over 75 television programmes including The Sweeney, Casualty, The Bill, Heartbeat, Pie in the Sky, Taggart, Newshounds, Common as Muck, and films including Agatha, The First Great Train Robbery, The Long Good Friday and An American Werewolf in London. His second play, Asylum, starred Sarah Miles at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, and his third play, High Flyers, starred Hugh Grant, Simon Cadell, Glynis Barber and James Hazeldine. He has three children and lives in London.


Director Peter Kavanagh is an award-winning director for theatre, film, television and radio. Theatre includes The Labyrinth (Players Theatre, Dublin, Dublin Theatre Festival and Royal Court Theatre), A Door Must Be Either Open or Shut, and The Boor in his own translations from Chekhov (Chichester Theatre Festival), Love and the Art of War (King’s Head Theatre), the musical The Good Companions (Watford Colosseum), A Selfish Boy and After Prospero (INK Festival at the Tristan Bates Theatre), Vox Humana (Cockpit Theatre), Endgame (Players Theatre, Dublin), Play, and Mrs Warren’s Profession (Project Theatre, Dublin), The Exception and the Rule (Focus Theatre, Dublin), This Property is Condemned And Other Tennessee Williams Plays (Gate Theatre, Dublin) and Victims (Abbey Theatre, Dublin). 
Film and Television includes Sightings of Bono, starring Bono, I Was the Cigarette Girl with Andrew Scott, which won an award at the Colombia Film Festival and a nomination at the Chicago Film Festival, and Sisters with Lisa Faulkner (BBC2).
Radio includes many award-winning productions for Drama on 3, from Sophocles through Shakespeare and Strindberg to Harold Pinter, James Graham and Howard Barker. Recent Ibsen productions include The Wild Duck in a version by Christopher Hampton with Samuel West and David Threlfall, Brand, Rosmersholm translated by Frank McGuinness with Helen Baxendale, and The Lady from the Sea with Cheryl Campbell. Shakespeare productions include Romeo and Juliet, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Measure for Measure featuring Simon Russell Beale, Emma Fielding, Siân Phillips, Saskia Reeves and Bill Nighy. Other notable casts include Benedict Cumberbatch and Lia Williams in Tom and Viv, Sorcha Cusack in Juno and the Paycock, Ian MacDiarmid in Volpone, Fiona Shaw in Playing with Fire, and Stephen Rea and Sinead Cusack in Ulysses. Prix Italia and many other drama awards include a Special Commendation for Landscape starring Harold Pinter and Penelope Wilton. He was nominated for Best Director by the BBC Audio Awards in 2017. He has also written and translated for stage and BBC Television drama.


“Extremely funny.” Daily Telegraph

“Remarkable comedy.” Punch

“Exceptional.” The Times

“Sparkling… A winner.” Variety

“Almost continual laughter… funny, truthful, caring play.” Daily Mail

“More salient points about our attitudes to each other, to foreigners, and to ourselves, than any play I’ve seen in years… Sharply observant…very funny.” Time Out

“A stunningly promising debut…Packed with honest observation and comic detail… a lovely study of post-adolescent uncertainty.” The Guardian

“Full of wit, compassion and understanding.” Daily Express

“Glorious.” Jewish Chronicle

“Brilliant.” The Spectator


“Humour, intelligence and craft. I was moved almost to tears at the finale.” Evening Standard on Love and the Art of War

“Absorbing revival…Peter Kavanagh’s light touch well suited to Porter’s eccentric narrative… so much good work.” The Stage on Blink

“A tiny masterpiece…softly compelling…This is a first-rate production.” ★★★★ Four Stars, London Fringe Review on A Selfish Boy.

“Could not have been more entertaining, an underrated little gem. This was a superb evening.” ★★★★ Four Stars, on The Good Companions.

“A fine, clear immediately accessible version of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm by Frank McGuinness in a production that exactly matched the text. With outstanding performances by Nicholas Farrell, Helen Baxendale and Ronald Pickup.” ★★★★ Four Stars, Sunday Telegraph on Rosmersholm

“The best Shakespeare BBC has done for years, the production’s virtues are easily stated - you can boil them down into one overriding virtue: lucidity.” ★★★★ Four Stars, The Independent on Measure for Measure

“Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker… This new production by the BBC’s Peter Kavanagh had David Warner as Davies… It lingers in the mind to haunt and warn because it has terrified you yet sometimes surprised you into sudden laughter. It was, in short, marvellous.” ★★★★ Four Stars, The Telegraph on The Caretaker

“Richard E. Grant is marvellously droll against the magnificent hauteur of Francesca Annis… relish the vividness of the production by Peter Kavanagh, so sharp yet so simple.” ★★★★ Four Stars, The Spectator on In the Depths of Dead Love

“Richard E. Grant gives a staggering performance.” Radio Times on In the Depths of Dead Love

“Dazzlingly good.” The Stage on In the Depths of Dead Love

“Towering intensity…does great justice to the work…A superlative production” The Guardian on The Faith Healer

“Sisters is television drama at its richest - intimate, close-up and highly personal.” Radio Times on Sisters

3 - 28 March 2020

Week 1-2

Prices until 15 March 2020

Tickets £18, £16 Concessions

Concession Details

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
Previews (3 and 4 March) £14 all seats.
£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£14 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 7 March 2020 when booked online only.

Week 3-4

Prices from 18 March 2020

Tickets £20, £18 Concessions

Concession Details

except Tuesday Evenings £18 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £20 all seats.

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here


Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm
Sunday 3:00pm

2hrs and 30mins with an interval of 15 mins