REVIEW: THE DOCTOR (Duke of York’s Theatre)

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Playwright and Director Robert Icke’s The Physician is a reimagining of Viennese dramatist Arthur Schnitzler’s 1912 play Professor Bernhardi. Premiering on the Almeida Theatre in 2019, The Physician obtained essential reward and received a 2019 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award and had nominations in each the Olivier Awards and the Night Customary Awards. The play then headlined the Adelaide Pageant in 2020 and was due within the West Finish shortly afterwards. Having been postponed because of the pandemic, The Physician now performs at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre.

The Physician follows Professor. Ruth Wolff, who refuses to let a Catholic priest into the working room the place a woman is dying from a botched self-administered abortion. After a recording of the bodily altercation with the priest goes viral on the web, Ruth begins to obtain extreme backlash from among the hospital employees, the woman’s father, a community of social media customers and a TV panel of social activist teams. Successfully being “cancelled”, Ruth’s concepts of labels, identification and being human are challenged as society begins to take sides.

On this manufacturing, Robert Icke directs Juliet Stevenson (Mary Stuart, Hamlet, Duet for One)  as Ruth Wolff, Christopher Osikanlu Colquhoun (The Lion King) as Copley, Mariah Louca (Greatest Of Enemies) as Rebecca, Daniel Rabin (King Lear) as Murphy, Naomi Wirthner (An Night At The Talkhouse) as Hardiman, Doña Croll (The Heresy of Love) as Cyprian, Juliet Garricks (100 Work) as Charlie, Preeya Kalidas (Everyone’s Speaking About Jamie) as Flint, John Mackay (Oresteia) as Father, Matilda Tucker (The Snow Queen) as Sami and Sabrina Wu making her skilled debut as Junior. They’re accompanied by Hannah Ledwidge on drums offering scene punctuation and pacing.

Robert Icke’s script offers fantastically flawed and layered characters for the actors to actually sink their enamel into and every does a wonderful job in bringing The Physician to life. Not leaving the stage all through, Juliet Stevenson is completely charming as Ruth Wolff. Starting as a assured, famend physician she stands by her physician’s code and slowly comes to grasp her personal humanity and humanity round her as her world unravels. Stevenson offers a powerhouse efficiency securing her place as soon as once more as the most effective fashionable theatre actors of our time. Doña Croll can also be very affecting in her portrayal of the privileged male character Cyprian. Typically abusing his place of energy, Cyprian helps Ruth till he’s now not in a position to. Croll’s male physicality and emotional journey was unsettling and engrossing.  Christopher Osikanlu Colquhoun’s Copley was the frequent devils advocate whereas Naomi Wirthner’s Hardiman appeared the voice of motive. Because the play progresses, we be taught extra about Ruth via Juliet Garricks’ Charlie. Typically the one calm entity in Ruth’s life, Garricks efficiency was was extraordinarily touching. As Father, John Mackay offers a compelling efficiency taking part in twin roles as two very distinction fathers accumulating in a closing scene with Ruth that was extraordinarily uncooked and emotional.

One of many many sensible gadgets utilized by director Robert Icke was the selection to make use of non-traditional casting. Black actors play white characters, girls play males and a few aren’t recognized in any respect leaving it as much as the audiences interpretation. As we be taught extra concerning the characters, The Physician challenges the audiences biases not solely by way of the fabric itself but in addition with the actors taking part in the characters. This system was brilliantly displayed on the high of the second act when the viewers was sat in entrance of a panel of social activist teams asking Ruth the laborious questions, intellectually difficult her and the viewers itself which was very stirring.

Delving into themes of social politics, identification, race, privilege, faith, psychological well being and sexuality, The Physician is a strong and wanted piece of recent theatre. With tickets beginning at simply £15 and 3800 stalls tickets specifically priced for NHS workers and blue mild staff, be sure that to get tickets and see The Physician whereas it performs the Duke of York’s Theatre.


Reviewed by Stuart James


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