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The Shark is Broken
The Shark is Broken
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The Shark is Broken

London
90 minutes without interval
The misadventures of Bruce the shark on the set of JAWS, as told by the son of one of the iconic film's stars
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About The Shark is Broken

The sell-out, smash hit of the Edinburgh festival fringe 2019 transfers to the West End for a strictly limited run from 9 October 2021 – 15 January 2022. Taking audiences behind-the-scenes of the iconic blockbuster Jaws, this brilliantly funny and deeply moving new play imagines what happened on board “the orca” when the cameras stopped rolling.

The Shark is Broken reveals the hilarious and moving behind-the-scenes drama on one of Hollywood’s all-time biggest blockbusters, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Directed by Guy Masterson the play is co-written by Robert Shaw’s son Ian, who also plays his father, and Joseph Nixon.

Recommended for ages 12+ Running time 1 Hour 10 Minutes (No Interval)

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Tell Me More

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… Here comes a play with a ferocious bite, all about the making of one of the most iconic blockbusters of all time: Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Book The Shark is Broken tickets now for its West End run — if you dare.

Go behind the scenes of Jaws with this revealing new play, which made a real splash at the Edinburgh Festival in 2019 and now comes to London’s Ambassadors Theatre. It’s the brainchild of Ian Shaw, son of Jaws film star Robert Shaw, who got a first-hand look at how the drama off-camera came to rival the gripping drama on film.

The Shark is Broken play is set in 1974, as Spielberg attempted to capture his thrilling tale of a great white shark terrorising the inhabitants of Amity Island. But the movie relied on the use of mechanical sharks — and they just kept malfunctioning, ballooning the budget and grinding the shoot to a halt.

That meant Robert Shaw and co-stars Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss were stranded on the Atlantic Ocean for hours, subject to increasingly terrible weather. Inevitably, that led to arguments between them, exacerbated by Shaw’s alcoholism. Join the trio on their boat, the Orca, for an unforgettable ride: The Shark is Broken London run is now on sale.

This fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the famous blockbuster is co-written by Ian Shaw and Joseph Nixon. Shaw plays his father, Robert, a role he will be reprising in The Shark is Broken West End production. Guy Masterson directs and Sonia Friedman produces this encore run of a show that the team knew was gonna need a bigger theatre.

Book your The Shark is Broken tickets now and dive into a tale that blends backstage comedy and thriller with existential drama.

What to Watch For

  • The Jaws shoot used three different pneumatically powered prop sharks: a sea-sled shark, which had a full shark’s body with just its belly missing and could be towed with a 300ft line; and two platform sharks, which had just one side of the shark each, and could move left to right and vice versa. All were nicknamed Bruce after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Ramer.
  • The Jaws models, designed by art director Joe Alves, all operated successfully in the workshop testing - but that was in controlled conditions and using fresh water. Once they were out in the ocean, seawater interfered with the pneumatic hoses, the sea-sled shark got tangled up in seaweed, and the neoprene foam used for the sharks’ skin soaked up liquid and made the sharks swell.
  • Ian Shaw used first-hand accounts when writing his script, such as The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb, the Jaws screenwriter, and his own father’s diaries. Shaw was 47 when he began developing the play: the same age as Robert was when he was making the film.
  • The Jaws shoot was infamously dicey. The Orca once began to sink with the actors on board, Gottlieb almost had his head taken off by the boat’s propellers, Dreyfuss got stuck in the steel cage, and he and Shaw developed a furious feud.
  • And yet, miraculously, Jaws was a monster hit. Spielberg had to keep the shark mostly out of view because of all the filming difficulties, but that made it more scary: an unseen force. It was also the first real summer blockbuster - a phenomenon that the actors discuss in Shaw’s play as they ponder what it means to make commercial art.
Run time

90 minutes without interval

Start date

October 8th, 2021

End date

January 15th, 2022

Genre

Play, Comedy

bookingFrom

October 9th, 2021

bookingUntil

January 15th, 2022

Venue

Ambassadors Theatre

star
£20 Rush Tickets
Download the TodayTix app and unlock Rush for a chance to access last-minute tickets at exclusive, great prices.
downloadApp.appledownloadApp.google
Tickets from £20
Prices you'll brag about

We're your one-stop shop for everything theatre. We work with theatre partners from around the world to bring you unbeatable prices for must-see shows.

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