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The Almeida's acclaimed production of The Doctor transfers to the West End

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Almeida’s acclaimed production of The Doctor is transferring to the West End – to the Duke of York’s Theatre, where it will run from April 29 (previews from April 20) to July 11, 2020.

Written by Robert Icke and very freely adapted from Professor Bernhardi by Arthur Schnitzler, The Doctor stars Juliet Stevenson who will be reprising her role as Professor Ruth Wolff.

This is the third West End transfer for Robert Icke and Juliet Stevenson in as many years, following the critical and commercial smash-hit productions of Mary Stuart and Hamlet.

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.

Juliet Stevenson’s previous work at the Almeida includes Mary Stuart, Hamlet and Duet for One (all also West End). She has worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Royal Court, winning an Olivier Award for her performance as Paulina in Death and The Maiden in 1991. Her other most recent theatre credits include Wings and Happy Days at the Young Vic.

Her films include Let Me Go; Truly, Madly, Deeply; Bend it Like Beckham; When Did You Last See Your Father?; Being Julia; Pierrepoint; Mona Lisa Smile and Departure. Her recent television work includes Riviera; One of Us; The Enfield Haunting; Atlantis and The Village. She was awarded the CBE in 1999. In addition to her Olivier Award, she has been nominated a further four times and is five times BAFTA nominated for her film and television work.

Stevenson said: “I am beyond thrilled that The Doctor is transferring to the West End. We have been blown away by the extraordinary response it has had at the Almeida. I think the play speaks to our current times with eloquence, complexity, humour and compassion – and I am so delighted it will have a future life and reach new audiences. It is a joy to be part of, and I am so grateful to Robert Icke, the company, and to those who are making it possible for us to keep it alive and kicking into 2020.”

The Doctor was Robert Icke’s final production as Associate Director at the Almeida Theatre, where his work includes adapting and directing The Wild Duck, Mary Stuart (also West End), Uncle Vanya, Oresteia (also West End) and 1984 (co-created with Duncan Macmillan, also Broadway, West End, national and international tours). As director, his other Almeida productions include Hamlet (also West End and screened on BBC2), The Fever and Mr Burns.

Elsewhere, Icke’s recent work includes The Crucible (Theater Basel), Oedipus (Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Edinburgh International Festival) and Orestie (Schauspiel Stuttgart, awarded the Kurt-Hübner-Regiepreis). His future work includes Ivanov (Schauspiel Stuttgart) and Children of Nora (Toneelgroep Amsterdam). He has won the UK Theatre Award, the Critics’ Circle Award and the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director, and is the youngest ever winner of the Olivier Award for Best Director.

Arthur Schnitzler (1862 – 1931) was an Austrian playwright and novelist. His plays include La Ronde (reworked by David Hare as The Blue Room at the Donmar Warehouse in 1998); Anatol; Flirtation; Fair Game; Light-O-Love; Paracelsus; The Vast Domain and The Green Cockatoo.

The Doctor has designs by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Natasha Chivers, sound and composition by Tom Gibbons and casting by Julia Horan. Further casting will be announced in due course.

Throughout the West End run, there will be 150 seats per performance for under £30. These include over 4000 great seats in the stalls and dress circle across the run which are exclusively available to under 30s, key workers and those receiving JSA or other government benefits.

The production completes its run at the Almeida Theatre on September 28, 2019.

NB: The Doctor includes the discussion of suicide and the description of suicide methods and is therefore recommended for ages 14+.

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes including a 20-minute interval.

Also at the Duke of York’s Theatre: The Son, directed by Michael Longhurst and the final part of the critically acclaimed trilogy with The Father and The Mother (until November 2); the West End transfer of Tom Morris’ production of Touching the Void (November 9, 2019 to February 29, 2020); and Noël Coward’s classic comedy Blithe Spirit starring Jennifer Saunders (March 5 to April 11, 2020).