Duke of York's Theatre
St Martin's Lane, London
Public Previews: 20 April 2020
Opens: 29 April 2020
Closes: 11 July 2020
Buy tickets:Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no show
Thu 23 April at 7.30pm only
Wed 29 April at 7.00pm only
Thu 28 May at 7.30pm only
Thu 11 June at 7.30pm only
Thu 25 June at 7.30pm only
Runs ? hours and ? minutes
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)
Robert Icke's production of The Doctor in London starring Juliet Stevenson - transferring from the Almeida Theatre
First, do no harm. On an ordinary day, at a private hospital, a young woman fights for her life. A priest arrives to save her soul. Her doctor refuses him entry.... In a divisive time, in a divided nation, a society takes sides.
PLEASE NOTE: This production includes the discussion of suicide and the description of suicide methods. The age recommendation is fourteen and above.
The Doctor is very freely adapted from Arthur Schnitzler's Professor Bernhardi by Robert Icke. It transfers to London's West End following an acclaimed run at the Almeida Theatre in North London in 2019.
The features Juliet Stevenson as 'Professor Ruth Wolff' who is reprising her role from the Almeida Theatre staging. Directed by Robert Icke with designs by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Natasha Chivers, and music and sound by Tom Gibbons.
When this production was originally seen at the Almeida Theatre in August 2019, Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times praised how "Robert Icke's riveting production takes a century-old drama and turns it into a devastating play for today, led by Juliet Stevenson's superb performance.... In Icke's hands, this becomes a gripping moral thriller and a scorching examination of our age... delivered by a fine ensemble." Nick Curtis in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "Robert Icke here delivers an intense, challenging exploration of contemporary identity and prejudice... It features one of the performances of the year, a display of gut-felt rigour from Juliet Stevenson, as the titular doctor, Ruth Wolff... Complex ideas, raw emotion and the demanding casting concept coalesce here in a way that is spellbinding." Aleks Sierz in the i newspaper wrote that "Juliet Stevenson on absolutely brilliant form... Although the story is dominated by Stevenson's portrayal of Ruth, all the acting by an ensemble cast is first-rate...the play is often funny, always engaging and the long evening is both moving and thought-provoking." Fiona Mountford in the Daily Telegraph described how "Juliet Stevenson walks the finest of tightropes, brilliantly ensuring that while we sympathise with Dr Wolff's impossible predicament, we never warm to her." Sam Marlowe in the Times commented how "Juliet Stevenson is impeccable as Professor Ruth Wolff, a Jewish doctor at the centre of a witchhunt who, for all her chilly intellect and toughness, is as vulnerable as an open wound... Some sequences are overworked, and the painstaking pace demands patience. Yet the ensemble acting is engrossing, and the play skilfully takes the pulse of our divided nation. Provocative, deft and disturbing." Luke Jones in the Daily Mail said that "Juliet Stevenson is a mighty presence. She rages, shakes, admonishes, weeps. There's real fire behind her eyes, stoked by the drama playing out... It's worth seeing just for her. It's a shame, then, that most of the rest of the cast are a bit flat. Her mad passion is matched only by Paul Higgins, who, as the frustrated priest and later the grieving father, is on sizzling form." Michael Billington in the Guardian explained how "this adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's Professor Bernhardi is a brilliant expansion of the original's themes. Icke's production also yields a performance by Juliet Stevenson that is one of the peaks of the theatrical year... Paul Higgins as the impassioned priest, Naomi Wirthner as Ruth's most implacable opponent, Pamela Nomvete as her fiercest champion and Ria Zmitrowicz as her betrayed friend all perform with great skill." Neil Norman in the Daily Express thought that "Juliet Stevenson is terrific as the implacable Dr Wolff whose severity conceals a fissuring soul... While it is admirably ambivalent and includes a handful of very funny exchanges, Robert Icke ultimately falls victim to his own artistic hubris, much like his protagonist Professor Wolff."
This production was originally seen at the Almeida Theatre in North London - previewed from 10 August 2019, opened on 20 August 2019, and closed on 28 September 2019 - when the cast featured Juliet Stevenson as 'Professor Ruth Wolff', Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Nathalie Armin, Paul Higgins, Mariah Louca, Pamela Nomvete, Daniel Rabin, Joy Richardson, Kirsty Rider, Naomi Wirthner and Ria Zmitrowicz with Hannah Ledwidge on drums.
Juliet Stevenson's London theatre credits include sharing the roles (with Lia Williams) of 'Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots' and 'Queen Elizabeth I' in Robert Icke's revival of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart at the Almeida Theatre in 2016, and transfer to the Duke of York's Theatre in 2018; 'Gertrude' in Robert Icke's revival of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Almeida Theatre and transfer to the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2017; 'Stephanie Abrahams' in Matthew Lloyd's revival of Tom Kempinski's Duet For One at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2009; 'Hetty' in Trevor Nunn's production of Imogen Stubbs' We Happy Few at the Gielgud Theatre in 2004; 'Amanda Prynne' in Philip Franks' revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 1999; 'Paulina Salas' in Lindsay Posner's production of Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden at the Royal Court Theatre in 1991, and transfer to the Duke Of York's Theatre in 1992; title role in Howard Davies' revival of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre Olivier Theatre in 1989; 'Presidente de Tourvel' in Howard Davies production of Christopher Hampton's stage adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Barbican Pit Theatre in 1986; 'Isabella' in Adrian Noble's revival of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure at the Barbican Theatre in 1984; and 'Widow' / 'Curtis' in Michael Bogdanov's revival of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew at the Aldwych Theatre in 1979.
"Robert Icke's... production is among the most remarkable for its twisting, needling argument, its radiant intimacy and a blazing central performance from Juliet Stevenson... In a brilliantly bewildering manoeuvre, Icke cross-casts black and white actors, women and men, so that we know what they 'are' only when they tell us... This jolt to assumptions is needed - even when it means too much is going on... Above the stage Hannah Ledwidge sits drumming, sending out a pulse between scenes. Hildegard Bechtler's design looks clear-cut but is drizzled with shadow by Natasha Chivers's subtle lighting." The Observer
"With a characteristically magnetic central performance from Juliet Stevenson, The Doctor blasts the mad, destructive politics of minority identity... All the lunacy of nonmeritocratic racial and gender balance, and of brilliant people's careers consequently being wrecked by Twitter storms and corporate cowardice, is slowly skewered... The main staging stunt is in the casting. Icke confounds us. Some black characters are played by whites, some men by women... It has a cost in terms of full theatrical engagement. That is balanced by the marvellous Stevenson, who slowly opens her emotional throttle as Wolff's world disintegrates. Brilliant stuff. And brave." The Sunday Times
The Doctor in London at the Duke of York's Theatre public previews from 20 April 2020, opens on 29 April 2020, and closes on 11 July 2020