In The Doctor at the Almeida Theatre Juliet Stevenson is mesmerising in a brilliantly written ethical debate that is both thrilling and challenging.
Stand-out performances in any era are often only judged so in retrospect and modern theatre offers much that will be remembered. But once in a while, you know you’re in the presence of greatness, and Ian McKellen’s King Lear will be talked about for years to come.
The full cast has been announced for the West End transfer of Robert Icke’s new adaptation of Mary Stuart. Following a critically acclaimed, sold out season at the Almeida Theatre in 2016-17, the production will open at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 15 January for a limited run before visiting Theatre Royal Bath, Salford Lowry and Cambridge Arts Theatre.
The scale of the intimate family drama that Robert Icke has fashioned from Shakespeare’s ever-present tragedy amplifies effectively, and Andrew Scott’s deeply conversational style still resonates strongly.
This production will doubtless have its detractors – it’s not spoken precisely enough, it doesn’t smell of war enough, there are too many watches – but for me, it is as exciting and engaging as Hamlet gets. The best I’ve witnessed out of the 15 I’ve watched.
There’s added spice here too since leading players Lia Williams and Juliet Stevenson do not know which of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots they will be playing until the beginning of the performance when it is decided with a coin toss….