I love it when I disagree with the critics. No, really I do. I’m fascinated that we can all have such widely variant opinions on the same thing – and I’m very happy for mine to be challenged. While for me, Photograph 51 never really developed into compelling drama, most overnight critics have awarded it four stars (well, apart from The Hollywood Reporter, whose judgment was more in line with mine – but they don’t use star ratings).
One thing that we all couldn’t resist, and almost every review opens with: the marked difference between Nicole Kidman‘s new cerebral stage vehicle and her last, sexually charged London stage appearance in David Hare’s The Blue Room at the Donmar Warehouse 17 years ago, which was famously dubbed “pure theatrical Viagra” by now-retired Daily Telegraph critic Charles Spencer.
Meanwhile, as with any celebrity West End appearance, we have coverage of Kidman being ‘mobbed’ by fans at the stage door, speculation about her relationships (particularly with her singer husband Keith Urban and whether they may or may not be having another baby) and rehashing of her Hollywood past (Tom Cruise). There are also some interesting features and opinions on the real woman who Kidman plays, the late DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin. Was the robbed of the Nobel Prize?
GUARDIAN – ★★★★
You could hardly have a greater contrast than with Nicole Kidman’s last appearance on the London stage. In David Hare’s The Blue Room (1998) she played 10 starkly revealing women in a…
TELEGRAPH – ★★★★
Dominic Cavendish: This time, there’s no disrobing (however fleeting). As presented in Photograph 51, Franklin is so buttoned-up it’s rare to see her flash a smile… But Kidman displays once again the power to hold usin thrall. Although her kit is Fifties demure, the caboodle of her nuancedperformance is the stuff of intoxication.
THE TIMES – ★★★★
Ann Treneman: The last time that Nicole Kidman was on stage in London, 17 years ago, her performance in The Blue Room, at times semi-clad, was described as “pure theatrical Viagra”. This time, in Photograph 51, she is providing thrills of a different kind… The play (90 minutes long) may be set in the Fifties, but it feels modern…
NEW YORK TIMES – ★★★★<
Ben Brantley: As directed by Grandage, with a wintry set by Christopher Oram that conjures a London in ashes after World War II, Photograph 51 sustains a crisp dramatic tension even when it skirts banality or expository tedium. And Kidman, who turns Franklin’s guardedness into as much a revelation as a concealment of character, is pretty close to perfection.
INDEPENDENT – ★★★★
Paul Taylor: The actress nails to a nicety Franklin’s high-handed brusqueness, comically described by her research assistant as like being addressed by a French person who insists on speaking English so as to rub your nose in the inadequacy of your French.
DAILY MAIL – ★★★★
Quentin Letts: Science is not easy to portray on stage but Michael Grandage’s fluent direction and Nicole Kidman’s stellar control make Photograph 51 a gripping, if slightly frosty affair… This brilliant X-ray scientist could have been a little more transparent, showing a little more flesh and blood.
THE STAGE – ★★★★
Mark Shenton: Star power may have brought this play to the West End, but Nicole Kidman proves that she’s worthy of the showcase… Here she doesn’t strip physically, as she famously did then, but the emotional layers are gradually exposed no less revealingly.
MY THEATRE MATES – ★★★★
Libby Purves: Kidman gives a quite wonderful performance. She’s restrained, fine-judged, tensely weary andluminous in stillness or crackling with energy as the prickly, driven,brilliant biophysicist
THE ARTS DESK – ★★★★
Matt Wolf: Under the direction of Grandage, Kidman is even better communicating a life of the mind than she was all those years ago allowing the briefest glimpse possible of her body. As savvy about-faces from Oscar-winning performers go, this one is going to prove hard to top.
Stephen Dalton: Nicole Kidman returns to the West End to play scientist and feminist icon Rosalind Franklin, long denied full credit for her groundbreaking work on DNA… Kidman just about manages to shine, despite uninspired staging and dowdy source material.
Keith Urban supports wife Nicole Kidman at Photograph 51 opening
She made a triumphant comeback to the West End stage for the first time in 17 years earlier this month with a round of well-received preview shows. But Nicole Kidman needed some extra…
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban bring their love to London
Nicole Kidman had the support of her husband, Keith Urban, at the opening night Photograph 51 in London on Monday. The couple brought their adorable brand of PDA to an afterparty for the…
Nicole Kidman pregnant with baby boy
Nicole Kidman is pregnant with a baby boy according to the latest report! It’s no secret that Nicole Kidman desperately wanted to have another baby with her husband Keith Urban, and she…
Nicole Kidman’s West End tribute to her father
Nicole, 48, is playing British scientist Rosalind Franklin in the play Photograph 51 at the Noel Coward Theatre. Franklin played a crucial role in identifying the structure of DNA but was…
‘I was always a Daddy’s girl’ admits Nicole Kidman
Hits include Days Of Thunder, the epic Cold Mountain and The Hours for which she became the first Australian to win an Oscar for best actress. But she is currently on the London stage…
Nicole Kidman gushes about kids with Tom Cruise
Nicole Kidman rarely talked about her children with Tom Cruise amid rumors that there’s tension between them. But Keith Urban’s wife opened up…
Nicole Kidman admits she was nervous to return to the stage
Nicole Kidman poses for a photo call for her production of the West End play “Photograph 51″ on Monday, Sept. 7. She looked glamorous in grey long-sleeved flare dress at the Noel Coward…
Nicole Kidman is mobbed by fans after a triumphant night
And after another triumphant night treading the boards in her new play Photograph 51 on Friday, Nicole Kidman was greeted by a huge crowd as she emerged from the stage door of London’s…
Rosalind Franklin would be ‘astonished’ to be cast as feminist icon
But Nigel Franklin, the scientist’s nephew, said his aunt had been misinterpreted. “I think there were little things that annoyed her, like the fact that when she as at Kings the common…
INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
Nicole Kidman returns to West End: ‘I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum&apo
As Nicole Kidman returns to the London stage, Mick Brown puts the actress and her director, Michael Grandage, under the microscope When Nicole Kidman last appeared on the London stage 17…
In her own words: Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman has officially returned to London’s West End. The talk and expectation is over and the Hollywood star is treading the boards on a nightly basis in Photograph 51 at the Noël…
Michael Grandage & James Bierman on staging Kidman play
It’s been 17 years since Nicole Kidman last took to the stage, in Sam Mendes’ staging of David Hare’s The Blue Room at London’s Donmar Warehouse and later on Broadway. So…
Remembering Rosalind: Sister recalls DNA pioneer
When scientist Rosalind Franklin, who helped discover the structure of DNA, died in 1958 she was largely unknown. A play about her life starring Nicole Kidman is now on in London, but Ms…
Kidman is wrong about her DNA heroine
A new play perpetuates the myth that Rosalind Franklin was robbed of a Nobel prize. In fact, she let the opportunity slip. It’s not been a good fortnight for actresses and scientific…