Set during a heat wave on a rundown Thamesmead council estate, Beautiful Thing is an urban love story full of characters that abound with attitude, energy, frankness and humour. The story follows Jamie, an introvert, troubled teen whose dislike of football is reason enough for his classmates to bully him at every opportunity. Living with his pre-occupied single mum, Sandra, Jamie finds himself infatuated with his next door neighbour and classmate Ste. Ste, who is living with his abusive, alcoholic father in the flat next door, is one night beaten so badly that Sandra takes pity and lets him sleep over. In the absence of a third bed, Ste has to make do with sleeping 'top-to-toe' with Jamie. Much to his delight, Jamie is able to provide Ste with the comfort and reassurance he craves and also a little massage with some peppermint foot lotion.

The boys' relationship is helped along by Leah, a sassy, Mama Cass-obsessed neighbour and Sandra’s dippy neo-hippy lover, Tony, as they discover themselves, each other and a Beautiful Thing.

Jonathan Harvey deftly combines comedy with ardent drama in his critically acclaimed award winning play, and truly captures what it is to be sixteen and in the first full flush of love.


Jonathan Harvey wrote Beautiful Thing when he was 24. Just three months after he submitted it to the Bush Theatre in London 1993, it was given its premiere in what was to become a legendary opening night. The play sold out its five-week run at the Bush Theatre, transferred to the Donmar Warehouse in central London and then went on to be a West End hit for almost a year at the Duke of York’s Theatre and eventually won its author an Olivier Award nomination and the John Whiting Award.

A screen adaptation of the play was released in 1996 by Channel 4 Films, with a revised screenplay also by Harvey; the film then went on to be a cult hit.

In 2013 the play is twenty years old and will be celebrating its anniversary with a return to London for the first time in over 8 years. Starring Suranne Jones as Sandra, Zaraah Abrahams as Leah, Oliver Farnworth as Tony and introducing Jake Davies as Jamie and Danny-Boy Hatchard as Ste.