All about Garrick

Tue 28 Aug

In honour of upcoming double bill Hogarth's Progress, we shine a light on two remarkable actors: West End theatre star Mark Umbers and the character he plays in The Taste of the Town, the larger-than-life David Garrick.

 Mark Umbers


You may recognise Mark as pushy journalist Robert Walsh in BBC mini-series Collateral, appearing alongside Carey Mulligan. 

Much like David Garrick, he is at home under the bright lights of the West End including the transfer of Sondheim's much acclaimed Merrily We Roll Along at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Unlike Garrick, Mark Umbers stands at 6'2'. Garrick may have been a giant in the world of theatre but he was only 5'4' in reality... Find out more about David Garrick below.



  • The X Factor and Love Island contestants may be after instant fame but Garrick really was an overnight sensation. He was one of the first British actors to adopt a naturalistic style of performance and from his first appearance as the title role in Richard III in 1741, he became the talk of London. A legend was born.
  • William Hogarth and Garrick were great friends. Hogarth painted Garrick in 1745 in the picture above, where he portrays Richard III waking from bad dreams the night before battle. 
  • Truly dedicated to his art, Garrick had an unusual wig that he wore when playing Hamlet, which made his hair stand on end when Hamlet's father's ghost appeared. Spooky...
  • There are numerous theatres and clubs named in honour of David Garrick all over the world, from the Garrick Theatre and Garrick Club in London to the Garrick Bar in Belfast. There's even a community theatre called the Garrick Theatre in Perth, Australia. 
  • Garrick died in 1779 and over 50,000 people queued to seeing him lying in repose before his funeral.


Quotes by David Garrick

'Corrupted freemen are the worst of slaves

'Let others hail the rising sun: I bow to that whose course is run'

'You are indebted to your imagination for three-fourths of your importance'

'Wonders will never cease'


Mark Umbers also plays the Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, in The Art of Success

Both plays together form the double bill Hogarth's Progress, which runs at the Rose from Thu 13 Sep – Sun 21 Oct. Each play can be enjoyed as a standalone performance or together, either over different days or both in one day.

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