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Takin’ Over the Asylum

Citizens Theatre


WORLD PREMIERE A hilarious and profoundly moving adaptation of Donna Franceschild’s cult 90’s BBC TV series set in Glasgow. A co-production from Citizens Theatre and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Watch Trailer

When Ready Eddie McKenna, Soul Survivor and double-glazing salesman, arrives to re-launch a defunct hospital radio station in a psychiatric unit, he turns more than the ramshackle station upside-down. The whisky drinking would-be DJ meets the irrepressible Campbell whose dreams seem untouched by reality, the hyper-organised Rosalie who is fighting a one-woman war against germs, the electronic genius Fergus whose voices tell him he’s a stupid bastard, and the brittle and self-destructive Francine.

As the patients battle with perception and prejudice as much as illness, Eddie, armed only with his soul music record collection, transforms their lives as well as his own.

Featuring a fantastic R&B soundtrack including Soul Man, Rainy Night In Georgia and Can’t Get Next To You.

The production will also be at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh from 13 March - 6 April.

A brand new stage play of the classic 90s BBC TV series.

Main Theatre

View seating plan

    User Rating

    Rated: (5/5), based on 7 ratings

Previews 14-15 Feb
Audio Described 27 Feb
Signed 28 Feb
Captioned 7 Mar
Wheelchair Access
Guide Dogs welcome
Induction Loop

Recommended for 12+



Wed 20 Feb With writer Donna Franceschild and director Mark Thomson

Cast and Creative Team >

Directed by Mark Thomson
Designed by Alex Lowde
Lighting Design by Chris Davey

Cast includes: Iain Robertson, Brian Vernel, Helen Mallon, Caroline Paterson, Molly Innes, Grant O’Rourke, Martin McCormick, Gayle Madine, Gregor Firth and Lucy Hollis.


“Director Mark Thomson receives fine performances right across a diverse cast.
The Telegraph

“this magnificent ten-strong ensemble create a fine, irresistible piece of popular theatre, with a great, beating heart, wonderful tunes, and terrific jokes
The Scotsman

”(a) moving, funny and heart-breakingly pertinent story”
The Herald

“funny, moving, relevant…a fantastic piece of old-school theatre”

“blessed with a strong ensemble cast”

“not-to-be-missed…A Scottish ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

“great writing, good music, a collection of fabulous characters facing unenviable challenges and a well structured story.”

“a grand entertainment that downplays the more serious side of mental illness.”
The Stage

“fans of the TV series will recognise the play’s careful balance between poignant pathos and pointed comedy”
Sunday Herald

this tightly written and sharply crafted play is funny, heart-breaking and genuinely inspiring in equal measure.
The Public Reviews (4.5 stars)

“blurs the line between mentally ill…and “sane” show that despite the labels given to us, ultimately we are all people.”
TV Bomb

“There’s nothing preachy or sentimental about Franceschild’s script. The high entertainment value comes from its raft of visual gags…and glibly funny lines”
The Times




24th April 2013

great cast and thoroughly entertaining

Jiim Campbell

9th April 2013

I saw this last week in Edinburgh. Such an amazing play - so accurate to how wards really are, but also so funny. I felt moved to think that this subject was being covered to the wider public who don't know what it is like to be in a psychiatric ward. I would hope to see Takin' Over the Asylum to do a UK Tour. MORE people need to see this!!


22nd March 2013

Hi Kate, I dont think there's a transcript, but I will ask. I'll try to get your question to the Director and will pass on the response, if we get one. Thanks, Helen

Kate McGladdery

21st March 2013

Hi! I brought my Advanced Higher class to see the play last night. We loved it but were sorry to miss the chance to discuss the play with the director. I don't suppose a transcript of that discussion exists? Or do you think the director would be willing to give an answer to the question the pupils must answer - to what extent is this production influenced by Stanislavski!? Any help with this - we'd love to know particularly about the rehearsal process to creat such a lovely ensemble piece - would be MUCH apprectiated. Thanks! Kate


4th March 2013

Hi Lucy. Yes, we do have the scripts for sale here at the theatre for £5. They are also on sale on our online store for the same price.


4th March 2013

Is the play for sale at the theatre? Saw it on Thursday night and loved it!

Ryan Byrne

28th February 2013

Brought a group of third and fourth year drama pupils to see the show last night and all of us were completely blown away by the performance! From the moment the play started until the final blackout, the pupils were entranced. The bus home consisted of chants of 'We are loonies, and we are proud!' and constant positive reviews of acting, storyline and theatre arts. A brilliant night and well worth organissing a trip for.

narender sidhu

24th February 2013

well acted and very enjoyable! funny and poignant.


24th February 2013

Hi Anne, we are offering refunds at Box Office. Please call in person or phone 0141 429 0022. Because this was the last preview, we did not have any equivalent tickets left across the rest of the run to offer a direct exchange. You can of course upgrade to alternate ticket. If you had ordered interval drinks you can get these refunded or a voucher for your next visit. Thanks Helen

Anne Bryceland

23rd February 2013

Hi, I had 2 tickets for the show on Friday 15th February - as you know the show was cancelled due to a power failure. Can you advise how to get replacement tickets or a refund? I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks, Anne Bryceland


23rd February 2013

Brilliant, funny and poignant. Between the laughter the pain of living in a world that demonises mental illness is carefully woven . It leaves you questioning your own attitudes . Brilliant cast.


22nd February 2013

I LOVED Takin' Over The Asylum! I laughed out loud... and cried quietly.


7th February 2013

Hi Steve, we don't have a running time yet as the play is still very much mid-rehearsals. Until they do a full run of all sections together, we won't know. It will have 2 halves with an interval. We will have an estimate during tech week (post 11 Feb). We'll add this online once available.


7th February 2013

Hi, I am looking forward to the play but could you advise of its length so that I can arrange transport for my return home.


4th February 2013

Hi Mik, Yes, as with every 50p sale, we sell 10 for each of the first 10 performances (including the previews). So the higher up you are in the queue, the more choice you have.

Mik McGuckin

4th February 2013

Are there specific showings for which the 50p promotional tickets, which go on sale on the 9th Feb, are for? Thank you. Mik M


22nd August 2012

Hi Shelley. Our preview price of £8 applies to the 7.30pm performances on Fri 15 Feb and Sat 16 Feb. However, since you would be bringing a student group you are eligible for £8 tickets at any performance plus you get 1 free ticket for every 10 purchased. Our Box Office staff are able to advise on current availability on 0141 429 0022.

Shelley Ferguson

21st August 2012

hi, I am interested in taking two class groups studying higher mental health to see "takin over the asylum". Could you advise how much ticket prices would be for a group booking of 40 students. These are college students travelling from ayr with limited funds there- fore any discount would be very much appreciated. You refer to preview prices at £8 could advise what this means? Many thanks, Shelley Ferguson

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