Takin' Over the Asylum

Takin’ Over the Asylum

By Donna Franceschild
Based on the scripts for the BBC television serial written by Donna Franceschild
Directed by Mark Thomson
A co-production with the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

We are loonies! And we are proud!

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.

Features a fantastic R&B soundtrack including Soul Man, Rainy Night in Georgia and Can't Get Next To You.

Takin' Over the Asylum will transfer from the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, having played there from 14 February - 9 March 2013.

The Lyceum is delighted to be hosting the Young Peoples' Mental Health & Wellbeing and the Arts Symposium on Thursday 21 March - more information available here

Cast and Credits

The cast of Takin' Over the Asylum

Eddie - Iain Robertson
Campbell - Brian Vernel
Francine - Helen Mallon
Rosalie - Caroline Paterson
Fergus - Grant O'Rourke
Stuart - Martin McCormick
Aileen - Gayle Madine
Hector - Gregor Firth
Margaret - Lucy Hollis
Evelyn - Molly Innes

The creative team of Takin' Over the Asylum

Director - Mark Thomson
Designer - Alex Lowde
LX Designer - Chris Davey
Assistant Director - Caroline Donald


Our production trailer for Takin' Over the Asylum

See rehearsal and production photos in our gallery

Dates, Times & Prices

This production has now ended

Dates and times

Wednesday, 13 March, 7.45pm (Preview - on sale from 9 January 2013)
Thursday, 14 March, 7.45pm
Friday, 15 March, 7.45pm
Saturday, 16 March, 7.45pm

Tuesday, 19 March, 7.45pm
Wednesday, 20 March, 2.30pm
Wednesday, 20 March, 7.45pm
Thursday, 21 March, 7.45pm
Friday, 22 March, 7.45pm
Saturday, 23 March, 2.30pm
Saturday, 23 March, 7.45pm

Tuesday, 26 March, 7.45pm
Wednesday, 27 March, 2.30pm
Wednesday, 27 March, 7.45pm
Thursday, 28 March, 7.45pm (Touch Tour, 6.30pm and Audio-described Performance)
Friday, 29 March, 7.45pm
Saturday, 30 March, 2.30pm (Touch Tour, 1.15pm and Audio-described Performance)
Saturday, 30 March, 7.45pm

Tuesday, 2 April, 7.45pm
Wednesday, 3 April, 2.30pm
Wednesday, 3 April, 7.45pm (BSL Interpreted Performance)
Thursday, 4 April, 7.45pm
Friday, 5 April, 7.45pm
Saturday, 6 April, 2.30pm (Captioned Performance)
Saturday, 6 April, 7.45pm

Further information on accessible performances



Saturday Evenings

  • Front Stalls and Grand Circle: £29
  • Rear Stalls and Stalls Boxes: £26
  • Front Upper Circle: £19
  • Rear Upper Circle: £15
  • Grand Circle Boxes: £14.50

Tuesday-Friday Evenings

  • Front Stalls and Grand Circle: £24
  • Rear Stalls and Stalls Boxes: £21
  • Front Upper Circle: £16.50
  • Rear Upper Circle: £14.50
  • Grand Circle Boxes: £13.50

Wednesday/Saturday Matinees

  • Front Stalls and Grand Circle: £16
  • Rear Stalls and Stalls Boxes: £16
  • Front Upper Circle: £16
  • Rear Upper Circle: £16
  • Grand Circle Boxes: £13

Side-view seats are also available: £10-£15
Preview performances - all seats £7.50, unreserved seating (no concessions)
A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings



Over 60s/Concessions

  • Tuesday - Friday: £2 off full price tickets

Students, people with disabilities, under 18s

  • Saturday evenings: all seats £15
  • Tuesday - Friday evenings: all seats £10
  • Saturday matinees: all seats £10
  • Wednesday matinees: all seats £5
  • Wheelchair spaces available in Stalls Boxes
  • Students - ID required

Registered unemployed

  • Tuesday - Friday evenings: all seats £10
  • Wednesday matinees: all seats £5
  • Tuesday - Thursday: £1 Stalls tickets on the day (max 20 per show)
  • ID required

School discounts

  • Wednesday matinees: all seats £5
  • Tuesday - Thursday evenings: £8.50 (Stalls), £7.50 (Upper Circle)
  • Friday-Saturday evenings: Same as under 18s prices
  • One teacher free with every ten pupils
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949

Group discounts for 8 or more people

  • Evenings (Stalls and Grand Circle) £5 off full price plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • Evenings (Upper Circle) £3 off full price plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • Matinees: £3 off full price plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949


Transaction Fee

  • A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings (excluding free events) to cover the service costs required to process a transaction.
  • If you buy multiple tickets at the same time the fee will remain £1.
  • Applies to all booking methods and forms of payment.


A BSL Interpreted introduction to this production


Accessible performances for this production

Touch Tours for the visually impaired

  • Thursday 28 March, 6.30pm
  • Saturday 30 March, 1.15pm

Audio-described Performances

  • Thursday 28 March, 7.45pm
  • Saturday 30 March, 2.30pm

BSL Interpreted Performance

  • Wednesday 3 April, 7.45pm

Captioned Performance

  • Saturday 6 April, 2.30pm

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum


Access facilities at the Lyceum


  • Blue badge parking spaces directly opposite the theatre
  • Street level access to the Lyceum foyer

Front of House

  • Lifts to all levels
  • Front of House wheelchair available for audience use
  • Induction loop at Box Office
  • Accessible toilet in foyer


  • Infra red and radio headsets for hearing enhancement and audio-described performances
  • Guide dogs welcome in auditorium or can be left with Front of House staff
  • Raised Stalls Boxes offers space for up to 27 people in wheelchairs/companions
  • Underlit row letters, tactile row markers and embroidered seats numbers
  • Booster cushions and footstools available
  • Induction loop permanently on

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum

Take Part

Creative Learning events for this production

Theatre Class

  • Wednesday 20 March, 10.30am 
  • £6 per class 
  • Includes free coffee/tea

Post-show Discussion

  • Tuesday 26 March, after evening performance
  • Free, unticketed

Matinee Discussion Group

  • Wednesday 27 March, after matinee performance
  • Free, but ticketed


To book for ticketed events, please call 0131 248 4848 or book online.

(£1 transaction fee applies per booking)

Audience Feedback

Audience feedback for this production

If you would like to submit your own review of this production, please use the form on this page.

"I laughed, I gasped, I sobbed.  Not easy for a bloke to admit to."
Audience review by Brian Black

"A five star production from a superb ensemble cast...it deserves to be seen beyond Scotland"
Audience review by Margaret Dowling

"Another class act from the Lyceum."
Audience review by Barry Turnbull

"a brilliant production. Great concept, well acted and directed."
Audience review by D Saunders

"a brilliant production. Great concept, well acted and directed."
Audience review by Santosh

"Excellent performances.  Funny, touching and thought provoking."
Audience review by H Hand

"Energetic, powerful and with a strong cast this really is worth seeing."
Audience review by Kirsty Halliday

"It was absolutely terrific...Eddie and Campbell were a joy."
Audience review by Eileen Henry - Lyceum Subscriber

"I have been recommending this play to everyone I have met in Edinburgh and I shall say it again. Go and see this play!"
Audience review by Sheena Morrison

"A great night out and an absolute must!! Go and see it!!"
Audience review by Lorna Glaubitz

"Edinburgh, wake up and go and watch this fantastic play - you will not be disappointed! 10 out of 10!"
Audience review by B Davidson

"All of the cast were excellent...go see this play!!"
Audience review by Anne Macdonald

"Possibly THE best thing I have ever seen...And I've seen a few!"
@EmCav94 on Twitter

"Would highly recommend...Funny yet poignant, super performances & great music. Great night out."
@DavidHoy84 on Twitter

"Completely took over the Asylum tonight...What a show, go and see it!!"
@dalelush on Twitter

@Robin_Mitchell on Twitter

"A great evening yesterday laughing with ma loonies. I highly recommend."
@LothiansKen on Twitter

"An unmissable production!"
Shari Bull on Facebook

"Brilliantly acted & observed with an accurate portrayal of mental health. Go see it!"
@Calumcam on Twitter

"Buckets of well dones to Mark Thomson...for Takin' Over The Asylum. A cracking piece of theatre."
@cmfwood on Twitter

"A fast paced rollercoaster to the beat of the finest R&B music...definately see this if you can."
Audience review by K Goodall

"Maybe the  highlight of the season so far. Thoughtful, sad and wry."
@Time2TalkBeauty on Twitter

"Brilliantly done!!"
Sheila Semple on Facebook

"Great all- round performances. Thoroughly enjoyable - go see."
@macvinoveritas on Twitter

"Excellent piece of theatre, thoroughly enjoyed."
@BadgerBriefcase on Twitter

"Absolutely brilliant."
@katjc1 on Twitter

"Amazing!! So so good and it made me cry. Wow!
@sumintookish on Twitter

"I was sold from first song of 'Sweet Soul Music'! Brilliant performances, humour and pathos."
@milquetoast on Twitter

"Hugely entertaining, funny...I loved it."
Audience review by Shirley Stewart

"Great production with brilliant casting."
@AssemblyRoxy on Twitter

"Guyz, Taking over the Asylum, Lyceum, you needs to sees it #SoGood"
@sandyesquire on Twitter

"Loved the show...a thoroughly enjoyable evening."
Audience review by Mikeyboy_999

"Loved the show tonight!"
@aXxKyleexXx on Twitter

"As good as the TV series...the laughter kept coming."
Audience Review by J Kiernan

"Really enjoyed...great performances and great music."
@iansommerville on Twitter

"Absolutely fantastic...well done."
@cabowick on Twitter

"Fantastic...will remember this show for a long time to come."
Audience review by Jordan Burton

"Great show, great cast!"
@amybigjuice on Twitter

"Brilliant night...hilarious."
@vmcmahon on Twitter

"Beautifully acted, high-energy, dark but hilarious,,,brings both laughter and lumps in the throat."
@DavidKettle1 on Twitter

"Well worth the watch, a truly touching production."
Audience review by Lynsey

"Thank you...for Takin' Over the Asylum. I laughed, cried and felt the realism of the ward."
@WastelandUrban on Twitter

"It was fantastic! What an incredibly talented cast!"
@sillylittlelife on Twitter

"great piece of theatre tonight.  Eddy, Campbell, Rosalie & Fergus stand outs."
@JC753 on Twitter

"Absolutely brilliant cast, stunning performance, great soundtrack."
Audience review by Pauline Chumbley

@nicko569 on Twitter

"It's fab, thoroughly enjoyable."
Nathalie Cornish on Facebook

"believable, amusing and entertaining."
Audience review by Rob Graham

"By the way folks, Ian Robertson is outstanding as Ready Eddie. Go see."
@LiamRudden on Twitter

"It was fantastic...one of my favourites now."
Facebook comment by Alistair John Lorne Robertson

"Loved it."
@Rosie_KWard on Twitter

"Really enjoyed...Well worth getting along to this one if you can."
Facebook comment by Alan Stewart

"Brilliant! Very good indeed."
@GXLGrant on Twitter

"Excellent!!! Will be back."
Facebook comment by Terri Thomson

"I laughed, I cried and the music was fab!"
@normaaustinhart on Twitter

"That was so funny! Loved it."
Facebook comment by Kieran Holburn

"Completely brilliant."
@caitskin on Twitter

"Definately a must see!"
Facebook comment by Anne Mchardy

"Incredibly moving, inspiring, heart-breaking."
@LyreProductions on Twitter

"excellent performances and lots of sweet soul music. Strongly recommend it."
Facebook comment by Heather Clark

"brilliant - well worth checking out. Fantastic cast. Want to go again..."
@JaneWalker on Twitter

"I really, really enjoyed it.  There was laugh-out-loud comedy, heart-wrenching pathos and everything in between."
Blog review by Ian Stevenson

@clairedonlan on Twitter

"Absolutely loved Taking over the Asylum tonight. Huge fan of the TV show and this exceeded all expectations. A total joy."
@AliBroon1 on Twitter

"It's crazy good!"
@LouisebScollay on Twitter

"Proud to be a loony. Thoroughly recommend... very moving, brilliant acting."
@girlinthecityG on Twitter

"Fantastic. Brilliant performance of a great script. Thoroughly recommend."
@JacquiCochrane on Twitter

"Worth the watch."
@jambolynz on Twitter

"An outstanding show."
@kittea_jarlash on Twitter

"A very funny, moving, brilliantly-acted production."
Audience review by Dan Ablett

"Great performance."
@gingerbottle on Twitter

"a really moving performance, a total roller coaster of a show. Just brilliant."
@Bell45 on Twitter

"Funny. Moving. A whole lotta soul. A great night out"
@keiradocherty on Twitter

"Moving and excellent...fantastic cast."
@emmafcunningham on Twitter

"Funny, touching, just as relevant. Worth seeing..."
@BBCPolliemac on Twitter

"Fantastic show and superb cast! I loved it! We are looneys and we are proud!Yes indeed!"
@GavsterNo1 on Twitter

"Outstanding performance of Takin' Over The Asylum tonight loved every second."
@MikeyCollins92 on Twitter

"incredible ensemble performance. Very funny and moving. Everyone should see."
@Colmci17 on Twitter

"Sensational, absolutely loved it."
@_Mellll on Twitter

"fantastic! Great writing, great cast and great music."
@MissKimAllan on Twitter

"Hugely enjoyed."
@MacR_RealEstate on Twitter

"Strong performances all round. Lots of laughs."
@JoMoMMS on Twitter

"another great production, fabulous cast & story."
@M_Grimley on Twitter

"Great night... worth it for any cuckoo's nest fans!"
@GeorgeFrancis2 on Twitter

"Really enjoying #TakinOvertheAsylum. I knew I would!"
@MsBelleJones on Twitter

"Amazing. Go and see it if you can."
@kingofpartick on Twitter

"Great production...loved it!"
@angelicar57 on Twitter

"Heartily recommend...stellar casting all round."
@natspacino on Twitter

"A roller-coaster of emotions."
Audience review by Patricia Lawson

"An excellent production."
Audience review by Alasdair H Macinnes

"A lively production with excellent acting."
Audience review by Kirstine

Press Coverage


"Franceschild blurs the line between mentally ill...and “sane”...to show that despite the labels given to us, ultimately we are all people".
TVBomb ★★★★★

"a perfect balance of poignancy and brilliantly-observed humour."
Edinburgh Spotlight ★★★★★

"There's a sense of empathy as well as anger in Franceschild's writing that's brought to devastating life by an exceptional ensemble cast in Mark Thomson's heart-rending co-production between the Citz and Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre"
The Herald ★★★★

"this magnificent ten-strong ensemble, create a fine, irresistible piece of popular theatre, with a great, beating heart, wonderful tunes, and terrific jokes. Mark Thomson’s beautifully paced production lifts the spirits"
The Scotsman ★★★★

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

"BAFTA-winning TV drama translates brilliantly for the stage...funny, moving, relevant…a fantastic piece of old-school theatre”
The List ★★★★

"The high entertainment value comes from its raft of visual gags and glibly funny lines."
The Times ★★★★

“great writing, good music…fabulous characters”
Whatsonstage.com ★★★★

"top of the range production...performed by a stellar Scottish cast whose versatility is jaw-dropping."
Edinburgh Guide ★★★★

"it’s a powerful, thoroughly entertaining evening, and Thomson draws exceptionally fine performances from his extremely strong cast."
Edinburgh Reporter ★★★★

"One to watch out for."
Lothian Life ★★★★

"blessed with a strong ensemble cast"
The Guardian ★★★

"this is the theatrical equivalent of good soul music...Iain Robertson and Helen Mallon are individually grand as Eddie and Francine"
Edinburgh Evening News ★★★

"the ensemble cast is consistently strong, Iain Robertson’s DJ Eddie and Brian Vernel’s manic Campbell successfully set the energetic tone".
The Stage

"A Scottish One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest...an irresistible soul music soundtrack...an engaging, moving, and entertaining show, laced with black humour, warmth, and no shortage of pathos."
STV Online

"an entertaining and thought-provoking play...genuinely funny."
Edinburgh Theatre Review

Previews and Interviews

"Robertson is clearly proud to be taking the lead role in a play which manages to make such an important point while also being very funny and fabulously musical."
Interview with Iain Robertson, in the Sunday Herald on playing Read Eddie McKenna in Takin' Over the Asylum

"‘The last thing I wanted to do was cut and paste the telly version."
Interview with writer Donna Franceschild on adapting the tv series for the stage

"The best thing about it was being able to address the situation in mental health now"
Donna Franceschild talks to STV about the mental health themes in the show

"I like Donna’s decision to to that because by setting it in current times, she is saying, ‘Don’t write this off as a problem of the early 90s, when the TV series was set’.
Interview with Iain Robertson in the Edinburgh Evening News


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