An image of a rhinoceros resembling Donald Trump

Rhinoceros - International Festival

**This production returns to The Lyceum in the spring of 2018 and is included in the 17/18 Season Ticket**

Eugène Ionesco
Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh / DOT Theatre
Murat Daltaban / Zinnie Harris

In a sleepy French provincial town, a rhinoceros rampages across the market square. Another crushes someone’s cat.

A woman sounds the alarm: it is the townspeople themselves who are transforming into these raging beasts. As more and more of the citizens embrace their future as rhinos, just one man – the drunkard Bérenger – refuses to transform. But why does he feel so out of step with everyone else? And what will his refusal to conform cost him?

Eugène Ionesco’s classic 1959 play is an uproarious absurdist farce – and a chilling examination of conformism, nationalism, fascism and fundamentalism that has been compared with Orwell’s Animal Farm and Camus’s The Plague. It considers the countless ways in which humans are content to adapt themselves to new and horrifying circumstances, and give in to poisonous ideologies.

Alongside its piercing political insights, it is comic, thrillingly theatrical and deeply human, focusing on the unlikely hero of the everyman Bérenger, and the possibility of resistance to what might seem inevitable.

A historic capital city from the far south-east of Europe collaborates with another historic capital in Europe’s far north-west to create a show that speaks urgently to the whole continent, and beyond.

Edinburgh’s illustrious Royal Lyceum Theatre Company comes together with DOT Theatre of Istanbul, one of Turkey's most radical independent theatre companies, for a new Scottish/Turkish version of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. This production is presented in a new version by leading Scottish playwright Zinnie Harris, directed by the celebrated founder of DOT Theatre, Murat Daltaban, and performed by a diverse company of actors from Scotland and Turkey. This is the first to be performed of three plays written or adapted by Zinnie Harris at the International Festival this year.

A co-production between Edinburgh International Festival and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with DOT Theatre Istanbul

Supported through the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund
With additional support from City of Edinburgh Council

Original image by Christophe Cotichelli

This production contains strong language. 

Cast and Credits

in alphabetical order

Old Gentleman John Cobb
Daisy Ece Dizdar
Housewife Esin Harvey
Berenger Robert Jack
Grocer/ Papillon Myra McFadyen
Jean Steven McNicoll
Grocer's Wife/ Botard Sally Reid
Cafe Proprietor/ Mrs Boeuf Natalie Arle-Toyne
The Logician/ Dudard Harry Ward

A new version by Zinnie Harris
Murat Daltaban Director
Tom Piper Set and costume designer
Oğuz Kaplangı Composer and sound designer
Chris Davey Lighting Designer
Deborah Natanson Literal Translator
Laura Donnelly CDG Casting Director

Dates, Times & Prices

3 - 12 August 2017

PREVIEWS / 7.30pm
3 & 4 August

EVENINGS / 7.30pm
5, 6, 8 - 12 August

MATINEES / 2.30pm
8, 10, 12 August

Running time: 2 hours (no interval)

For full details on dates and times and to book tickets visit:


£10 – £32 / fees apply

For full details on International Festival pricing visit:



  • 11 August, 7.30pm


  • 12 August, 2.30pm, with Touch Tour starting at 1.30pm


  • 12 August, 2.30pm

Read The Lyceum's Access Statement here

Press Coverage

'blazing with theatrical energy and wit'
The Scotsman

'an elegant production, as entertaining as it is powerful'
The List

'a remarkable hilarious as it is desperate, and as urgent as it is compelling'
The Arts Desk

'an exposé of human behaviour, conformity and communication...a fantastic night at the theatre'
Edinburgh Guide

'Fascinating and wildly stylish'
The Times

'a defiant cry for our times'
The Herald

'combining knockabout comedy with a deep consideration of human society'
All Edinburgh Theatre