Search Icon
Marionet Logo
Menu Icon

Darwin in Malibu

Darwin in Malibu

Crispin Whittell


Malibu, California. Believing that all the heated debate about “The Origin of Species” is far behind him, Charles Darwin now gets guidance from tabloid horoscope and trashy beach reading. But when his old friend Thomas Huxley turns up with the Bishp of Oxford he finds himself entangled in a life-and-death comedy about God and science, love, loss and the sex life of barnacles. “Darwin in Malibu” premiered at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in May, 2003.

Methuen Publishing Ltd. (Collection: Methuen Drama)


Crispin Whittell

Crispin Whittell, born on December 19th 1969 in Nairobi, Kenya, is a British director and playwright. He spent much of his early life in Africa, was a member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and studied English at Cambridge University.


After leaving university, Whittell was writer-in-residence at Nottingham Playhouse (1997). He is perhaps best known for his play “Darwin in Malibu”, which premiered at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 2003 in a production directed by John Dove. It was subsequently produced at Hampstead Theatre, in London.


He is the writer of “Happy Birthday”, a film directed by Helen Mirren for Showtime.


His play “Happy Valley” premiered at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre in 1997, in a production directed by Whittell himself.


“Clever Dick”, a farce about the American physicist Richard Feynman and The Manhattan Project, was produced at Hampstead Theatre in 2006, and directed by Whittell.


Whittell was then commissioned by Roger Rees to write “Villa America”, about the American socialite couple Gerald and Sara Murphy and their relationship with Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway. “Villa America” premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2007, in a production also directed by Whittell.


Whittell is also the translator of Argentinian playwright-director Rafael Spregelburd’s play “Stupidity” (La Estupidez). “Stupidity” was developed at the National Theatre Studio as part of their Channels project. Richard Wolfe directed the English-language premiere for Theatre Conspiracy in 2007, in Vancouver.


Whittel also wrote “Killing Him” (Pleasance Edinburgh), “Party Tricks” (Nottingham Playhouse), and the short film “Hot Dog”. He has also directed for the BBC and Channel 4.


In 2010, Whittell was commissioned to write a new version of “A Christmas Carol” for the Guthrie Theater, in Minneapolis. It opened in November 2010 and has been remounted every year since.


“The Primrose Path” — Whittell’s adaptation of Turgenev’s novel “Home of the Gentry” — opened at the Guthrie Theater in May 2013, and in April of that same year he directed the World Premiere of Adam Rapp’s play “The Purple Lights” of Joppa Illinois at South Coast Repertory Theatre.

Menu Icon