The Boy in the Dress (musical)

The Boy in the Dress is a musical with music and lyrics by Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers and Chris Heath and a book by Mark Ravenhill. The musical is based on the 2008 novel of the same name, written by David Walliams. The story is about a twelve-year-old boy, Dennis, who enjoys wearing a dress and the reactions of his family and friends.[1][2]

The Boy in the Dress
The Boy In The Dress Musical.jpeg
  • Robbie Williams
  • Guy Chambers
  • Chris Heath
BookMark Ravenhill
BasisThe Boy in the Dress
by David Walliams
Premiere8 November 2019 (2019-11-08):
Royal Shakespeare Theatre,


The musical is based on the 2008 novel The Boy in the Dress, which was written by David Walliams, with illustration by Quentin Blake.[3] The novel was previously adapted into a BBC television short film in 2014.[4]

In February 2018, Gregory Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, confirmed that the RSC was working with David Walliams on an undisclosed project.[5] In May 2018, the show was officially confirmed and received its world premiere in 2019 in Stratford-upon-Avon for the festive period.[6] The show has a book by playwright Mark Ravenhill and is directed by Gregory Doran.[6] The musical features an original score by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers.[6]

Production HistoryEdit

Stratford-upon-Avon (2019-2020)Edit

The world premiere of the musical, presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, began previews on 8 November 2019, with press night on 27 November 2019, and ran until 8 March 2020 at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.[7] The production was directed by Gregory Doran, designed by Robert Jones, choreographed by Aletta Collins and lighting designed by Mark Henderson.

On 22 August 2019 the initial adult casting was announced including Rufus Hound as Dad, Natasha Lewis as Darvesh's Mum, Forbes Masson as Mr Hawtrey and Irvine Iqbal as Raj.[8] The complete casting was announced on 9 September 2019.[9]

Planned London transferEdit

In an interview with, Doran revealed that the production was due to transfer to the Savoy Theatre in London's West End opening in autumn 2020, however due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, plans were postponed.[10]

Cast and charactersEdit

Character Stratford-upon-Avon (2019)
Dennis Oliver Crouch
Jack Hobson
Jackson Laing
Tom Lomas
Toby Mocrei
Dad Rufus Hound
Mum / Miss Windsor Charlotte Wakefield
John Alfie Jukes
Zachary Loonie
Darvesh Ethan Dattani
Shivain Kara-Patel
Kassian Shae Ahktar
Arjun Singh Khakh
Darvesh's Mum Natasha Lewis
Oddbod Ben Thompson
Miss Bresslaw Christina Modestou
Gareth Alexander Moneypenny
Big Mac Max Gill
Rory Ryan Heenan
St Kenneth's Captain Jamie Tyler
Raj Irvine Iqbal
Mr Hawtrey Forbes Masson
Lisa James Asha Banks
Tabitha Knowles
Miriam Nyarko
Louise Grace Wylde
Lorna Charlotte Jaconelli
Maudlin Street Captain David Birch
Ensemble Hannah Fairclough
Ahmed Hamad
Alim Jayda
Clancy Ryan
Cilla Silvia
Swing Jack Anthony Smart
Georgie Westall

Musical numbersEdit


  • † Not included on the Cast Recording.
  • ‡ Originally titled "A Life of Discipline"

Original Cast RecordingEdit

A cast recording featuring the original Stratford-upon-Avon cast was released on 4 December 2020 on CD, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube Music. It features 21 tracks including 2 bonus demo tracks "If I Don't Cry" and "A House Without A Mum" by co-songwriter Robbie Williams.

To launch the album, the RSC live streamed an event called The Boy in the Dress: A Celebration on 5 December 2020 which featured author David Walliams reading from the original novel and co-songwriter Guy Chambers performing songs with Toby Mocrei and Miriam Nyarko (reprising the roles of Dennis and Lisa James respectively).[11]

Critical receptionEdit

The musical's premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon received positive reviews from critics and audiences. It received five star reviews from The Independent, Financial Times, WhatsOnStage, Reviewshub and BroadwayWorld and four stars from The Guardian, The Observer, The Sun, Evening Standard and The Sunday Times.


  1. ^ Salter, Jessica (7 August 2008). "David Walliams in Bond Street as a 'laydee'". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  2. ^ "The Boy in the Dress, Sunday Times review". The Times. 26 October 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  3. ^ "David Walliams is teaming up with Robbie Williams for The Boy in the Dress musical". Digital Spy. 25 May 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  4. ^ "The BBC adaptation of David Walliams's book was fizzy and festive as anything". The Telegraph. 26 December 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  5. ^ "RSC's Greg Doran on gender, race, technology and those Walliams rumours…". Stratford Herald. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Robbie Williams and David Walliams team up for The Boy In The Dress musical with Royal Shakespeare Company". iNews. 2018-05-25. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  7. ^ "Royal Shakespeare Company to Debut Musical Adaptation of The Boy in the Dress". Playbill. 28 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  8. ^ "First adult casting announced for The Boy in the Dress | Royal Shakespeare Company". Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  9. ^ "Latest Press Releases | Royal Shakespeare Company". Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  10. ^ "RSC's artistic director Gregory Doran on navigating the Covid crisis, converting the theatre into a cinema and more | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  11. ^ "The Boy in the Dress musical cast album details announced | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 2020-11-13.