11 Questions with the cast of A Number – John Shrapnel

John Shrapnel in A Number at the Young Vic. Photo by Johan Persson.

John Shrapnel in A Number at the Young Vic. Photo by Johan Persson.

Following critical acclaim at the Nuffield, John Shrapnel is currently playing Salter in A Number at the Young Vic. Here are his answers to our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in A Number in three words?
Very complex man.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
The one I’m working on.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Lindt Touch Of Sea Salt Chocolate.

What is your favourite word?

What are you most passionate about?
My partner.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?
Do the best bits twice.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?

Favourite city and why?
Paris. Always wanted to live there. Ever since being a student.

What is your favourite song?
Mother – John Lennon.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
1600’s – there’s a couple of things I want to ask Shakespeare about.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
Time travel (so I could go back to 1600 and ask Shakespeare those questions…)

A Number is at the Young Vic until 15 Aug. Tickets are selling out fast. Book now.

★★★★★ for Caryl Churchill’s A Number

Caryl Churchill’s A Number has finally opened at the Young Vic following huge success at the Nuffield and on tour last year. Read below to find out what the critics think and click here to see the amazing audience response so far.


Lex Shrapnel in A Number.

“Punchy, compact and endlessly inquisitive” 

The Guardian 
on Nuffield’s original production read the full review

“Unsettling, tense and darkly comic”
Time Out read the full review here.

“A virtuoso intensity fuelled by fine performances from John and Lex Shrapnel”
Telegraph read the full review here.

“Brilliant, gripping and beautifully served… One of Caryl Churchill’s finest plays”
Financial Times

“Tom Scutt’s design is a triumph”
Evening Standard

“An ingenious revival”
The Times

Check out this interview with the cast – real life father and son John and Lex Shrapnel.

A Number runs at the Young Vic from 3 July – 15 August and tickets are available from £10. Book now.

Real-life father and son star in Caryl Churchill’s A Number

John and Lex Shrapnel in A Number. Photo by Richard Budd.

                                            John and Lex Shrapnel in A Number. Photo by Richard Budd.

Caryl Churchill’s thrilling drama A Number directed by Michael Longhurst comes to the YV in July. Rated no.4 in the Guardian’s top 10 theatre of 2014, the acclaimed Nuffield production stars real-life father and son John and Lex Shrapnel. Get to know the cast and take a look at their biogs below…  

John Shrapnel in A Number. Photo by Richard Budd.

John Shrapnel in A Number. Photo by Richard Budd.

John Shrapnel plays Salter. He last appeared at the Young Vic in King Lear. Other theatre credits include Hamlet (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Macbeth (Manchester International Festival/New York), King Lear (Tobacco Factory, Bristol), Phaedra (National Theatre/Epidaurus/ Washington), Julius Caesar (Barbican), South Pacific (National Theatre), The Hothouse (Chichester/Comedy Theatre), Hamlet, The Dybbuk, The Thebans, The Greeks, Measure for Measure, Temptation, The Archbishop’s Ceiling (RSC).  John’s television credits include Merlin, Waking the Dead, Inspector Lynley, New Tricks, Apparitions, The Palace, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, Jonathan Creek, Coogan’s Run, Hornblower, Foyle’s War, Between the Lines, Invasion Earth, BodyguardsBlackeyes, The Woman in White, Professional Foul, Edward & Mrs Simpson, Elizabeth R.  His film credits include The Awakening, The Duchess, Alien Autopsy, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Troy, Gladiator, Notting Hill, Sparkle, Mirrors, 101 Dalmatians, Two Deaths, How To Get Ahead In Advertising, Personal Services, and Nicholas and Alexandra.

Lex Shrapnel in A Number. Photo by Richard Budd.

Lex Shrapnel in A Number. Photo by Richard Budd.

Lex Shrapnel plays Bernard. His theatre credits include: Hedda Gabler (Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton), The Deep Blue Sea and Death of a Salesman (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Serious Money (Birmingham Rep), Richard II, Henry IV Part IHenry V, Henry VI Parts 1, 2, 3 and Richard III (Royal Shakespeare Company), Hamlet (Birmingham Rep), Romeo and Juliet (Chichester) and King Lear (Almeida).  His television credits include A.D., Sons of Liberty, Transporter, The AssetsMidsomer MurdersBy Any MeansEndeavourThe Poison TreeHuntedMinder and Sharpe’s Challenge.  Lex’s film credits include Grimsby, Seal Team Eight, OXI: An Act of Resistance, Captain America: The First Avenger, EmulsionAn Organization of DreamsFlyboysMinotaurThunderbirds and K-19: The Widowmaker.

A Number is directed by Michael Longhurst, designed by Tom Scutt, with lighting design by Lee Curran and sound design by Richard Hammarton. The shows runs at the YV from 4 Jul – 15 Aug. Book now: www.youngvic.org/whats-on/a-number

Two new shows announced for 2015!

Today we’re thrilled to announce two new shows for 2015!

Man: Three plays by Tennessee Williams

Man: Three plays by Tennessee Williams
11 – 21 Feb 2015

Three riveting stories of misplaced identity and sexual repression reveal the tragic consequences of isolation.

Don’t miss these rarely performed Tennessee Williams one-act plays: Summer at the Lake, Auto-de-Fe and The Strangest Kind of Romance, directed by 2015 Genesis Future Directors Award winner Finn Beames.


A Number by Caryl Churchill
3 Jul – 8 Aug 2015

Bernard thought he was an only child. At the age of 35 he learns the shocking truth: he is just one of a number of clones. He and his father both confront epic questions of identity, intimacy and belonging.

Caryl Churchill pushes the boundaries of science and ethics with an astonishing twist on the dynamics of the father/son relationship. Played by real-life father and son John and Lex Shrapnel, A Number is directed by Michael Longhurst with design by Tom Scutt.

To book now or to find out more, click here.