Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Robert Icke’s final production as associate director at the Almeida Theatre.
The Guardian: ★★★★★ “Juliet Stevenson delivers one of the peak performances of the theatrical year in Robert Icke’s striking reimagining of Schnitzler.”
The Independent: ★★★★ “Audiences may be divided over the addition of a psychological hinterland for the initial fatal decision. And yes, the piece does at times feel top-heavy. But this swansong is immensely stimulating.”
The Times: ★★★★ “Trust Robert Icke to leave us with our heads spinning. Signing off as an Almeida associate, the dazzlingly clever director offers a final production that asks huge questions about faith, medicine, mortality and culture wars.”
Time Out: ★★★ “Full of smouldering frustration and just-visible terror, Stevenson’s masterful central performance does a lot of heavy lifting here. Because although Icke throws out a lot of smoke around the ideas he’s exploring, they’re not thought through with the white-hot intensity they deserve.”
The Telegraph: ★★★★★ “His final huzzah at the Almeida, the venue that has nurtured Icke and given rise to his phenomenal work on The Oresteia and Mary Stuart, to name but two, serves as a razor-sharp reminder of what is about to be lost.”
Camden New Journal: “Stevenson is superb. A live drummer, Hannah Ledwidge, punctuates the action. The Doctor is quite possibly the best thing you will see this year.”
Culture Whisper: ★★★★★ “Stevenson’s Doctor is hugely likeable. Her strictness as a stickler for grammar melts into warmth as she reminisces fondly about the love of her life or helps a young friend with her homework. She captures the Doctor’s wit too, delivering punchy one-liners with a deadpan expression without missing a beat.”
Secret London: “Anyone watching The Doctor will recognise flashes of reality from recent debates and news discussions, and that’s what makes it so brilliant, and so tense, and so utterly terrifying. There are few plays that hold an audience so breathless and so captivated throughout – but The Doctor is one of them.”
The Stage: ★★★★ “This is a play that, like very little else on stage, carries the suggestion of genuine danger with it at all moments. It is stomach churning, nauseating and, most of all, absolutely mesmerising.”
Islington Gazette: ★★★★ “But the ensemble is strong, particularly Naomi Wirthner, Paul Higgins and Ria Zmitrowicz, while Hildegard Bechtler’s slowly revolving stage literally changes our point of view, and fantastic drumming from Hannah Ledwidge ramps up the tension. Another provocative offering from Icke, and Stevenson provides its memorably wounded soul.”
Evening Standard: ★★★★ “Complex ideas, raw emotion and the demanding casting concept coalesce here in a way that is spell- binding. It’s a tremendous farewell flourish for Icke, and Stevenson has rarely been better.”
The Upcoming: ★★★★ “It’s hard to ignore the impact of the wonderous Juliet Stevenson on any conflicted feelings about the narrative. The complexity of Professor Ruth Wolff – a woman who fatally sees herself as her profession above all else – is found in a stern kind of love, an insistence on excellence, a hard façade that rarely breaks. She, at times when Icke starts to falter, is who steadies the ship and keeps The Doctor’s heart beating.”
Broadway World: ★★★★ “That linguistic interest isn’t always reflected in a fairly straightforward script; when Alzheimer’s is described in moving, evocative terms, it’s a welcome poetic break – and one that frames the horrific disease as an assault on our fundamental human identity. But this meaty piece is certainly thought-provoking, and Stevenson provides its memorably wounded soul.”
British Theatre Guide: “In fact, some of the debate is fascinating, while the acting is strong, particularly from Juliet Stevenson who could find herself nominated for awards as a result. The experience could have been even better, had there been greater concentration on following the plot through to its natural conclusion, while getting lost along the way a little bit less frequently.”
The Doctor continues to play at the Almeida Theatre until 28 September 2019.