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 important reward and received a 2019 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award and had nominations in each the Olivier Awards and the Night Commonplace Awards. The play then headlined the Adelaide Competition in 2020 and was due within the West Finish shortly afterwards. Having been postponed as a result of 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 lady 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 a number of the hospital workers, the lady’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 (Finest 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 gives fantastically flawed and layered characters for the actors to essentially 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 totally fascinating as Ruth Wolff. Starting as a assured, famend physician she stands by her physician’s code and slowly comes to know 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 top-of-the-line trendy theatre actors of our time. Doña Croll can 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 purpose. Because the play progresses, we study extra about Ruth by way of 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 ultimate 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, ladies play males and a few aren’t recognized in any respect leaving it as much as the audiences interpretation. As we study extra concerning the characters, The Physician challenges the audiences biases not solely when it comes to the fabric itself but additionally with the actors taking part in the characters. This method was brilliantly displayed on the prime of the second act when the viewers was sat in entrance of a panel of social activist teams asking Ruth the onerous 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 staff and blue gentle employees, be sure that to get tickets and see The Physician whereas it performs the Duke of York’s Theatre.
Reviewed by Stuart James