Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell
by Keith Waterhouse


Jeffrey in the pub looking at two customers sitting at a table

Jeffrey looking at customers at the bar



September 2007

The play is set in the Coach and Horses, Soho, London. Gambler, journalist, fervent alcoholic and four-times married Jeffrey Bernard writes the ‘Low Life’ column for the Spectator magazine chronicling Soho life as well as offering a very personal philosophy on vodka, women and race-courses. From this, Keith Waterhouse has brilliantly constructed a play (The title being a euphemism used by the Spectator when Bernard is incapable of writing his column) which is set in the saloon bar of Bernard’s favourite Soho pub, the Coach and Horses. Having passed out in the lavatory, Bernard awakes in the early hours of the morning to find himself alone and in the dark. Unable to contact the landlord, he is resigned to spending the rest of the night with a bottle of vodka and an endless chain of cigarettes, narrating a story of hilarious anecdotes and witty reminiscenses which are enacted by two actors and two actresses who bring to life the various characters who populate Jeff’s world. Starring Peter O’Toole, later succeeded by Tom Conti then James Bolam, the play enjoyed a hugely successful run at the Apollo Theatre, London.


Jeffrey Bernard at the bar



Jeffrey Bernard sitting with two women