The Doctor ★★★★★ Duke of York's Theatre | Sep 29 - Dec 11, 2022

This is simply theatre at its best! It doesn't miss a hot-button issue: identity groups, antisemitism internet trolling, abortion, suicide, organisational politics and dementia. They are all here, but they arise organically from Robert Icke's fascinating narrative and complex characters. The multifaceted nature of many of these issues is respected, and their treatment is sensitive and thought provoking. We are never preached at! We all have various identities, chosen, traditional and innate. The primacy assigned any particular one of these is determined both by an individual and by the society one lives in. Above all, Ruth Wolff, stunningly portrayed by Juliet Stevenson, is a doctor. She has almost totally subsumed her other identities into this version of herself, and this decision leads to a clash that unravels her carefully wrought self-construction. While displaying extraordinary integrity in her professional role, Wolff has lost a sensitivity to others, and perhaps, to the politics of personal and organisational relationships, that will be her undoing. Juliet Stevenson's performance is simply breathtaking, and she is supported by a cast that never misses a beat. These are all intriguing and well-rounded characters who are presented with conviction and control. The actors have a great script, and their performances match both its subtlety and its insight. Robert Icke's direction of his own work is well-paced and the time flies by. To be crystal clear, this is why we go to the theatre!

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Manuel Harlan.

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