Juliet Stevenson finally brings The Doctor to the West End


ward-winning actress Juliet Stevenson is bringing her play The Doctor to the West End two years after the Covid pandemic prevented it opening.

The star, whose roles include the 1990 film Truly, Madly, Deeply, won acclaim for the role at the Almeida Theatre in Islington and was preparing to open in the West End in 2020, when theatres closed.

But Stevenson, who was shortlisted for best actress at the Standard’s 2019 Theatre Awards for her performance in the play, said it had become more relevant because of the pandemic.

The production, directed by Robert Icke, updates an Austrian drama from 1912 and revolves around a Jewish doctor, played by Stevenson, who becomes a hate figure on social media after stopping a priest seeing a dying teenage girl.

Manuel Harlan

She said: “So much has happened in the last two years that has fed into the play and comes off it and speaks back to it so it is completely, if not more, relevant than it was two years ago.” She said the play also raised the issue of how easy it was for everyone to give their point of view about any subject instantly on social media.

She said: “Opinion is high currency, understanding is low currency, context is low currency, mitigating circumstances are low currency and people are so quick to judge and have opinions and pour them put into social media. Reputations are made and lost in seconds.

“That if anything has got more extreme in the last couple of years so I think the play is ripe for another run. There will be a huge appetite.”

On the frustration of not being able to open when planned, she added: “There is a whole sense in that situation of a momentum that’s been stopped in mid-flight. The show exploded onto the theatre scene, it was a big hit, it was very controversial and everybody was talking about it and it seemed absolutely ripe for moving on and having a longer life.”

It is Stevenson’s third collaboration with Icke to come to the West End in recent years after success for productions of Mary Stuart and Hamlet.

Almost 4,000 tickets priced at £25 have been set aside for NHS and blue light workers.

The Doctor opens at the Duke of York Theatre from September 29.

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