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Doctors Dilemma

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#1 Reich

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:30 AM

Astounding. Shaw has created watertight argument for the Beveridge report. The first act is a bit slow and quite a few people didn’t return after the interval but I found it to be really good; satire meets melodrama. Reminded me a little of Major Barbara into how it questions humanitarianism.

After a long time something I’ve enjoyed at the NT ...

Broadway has been very good to me. But then, I've been very good to broadway.


#2 David J

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 11:30 AM

This is off topic here but I have just seen my first Bernard Shaw yesterday, Heartbreak House at Chichester, and I really struggled to follow the complex dialogue. From what I can tell some of the audience members also had the same thoughts. I myself am not a fan of Charles Dickens' wordy writing style (I feel like I need a dictionary at hand), and I thought Bernard Shaw's style in this play was the wordiest of the wordy.

Would The Doctor's Dilemma (though I won't have a chance of seeing it) be a better play for a Bernard Shaw beginner. Are there any other plays (apart from Pygmalion) that would help, perhaps somthing pre-WWI since I have studied Edwardian Britain recently and I appreciate that Bernard Shaw refers to issues of his time
My reviews can also be found at "A Night at the Theatre"

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#3 Reich

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:36 PM

I’ve seen Saint Joan, Pygmalion, Major Babs, & Doctor. I’ve found them all to be accessible but the ones I would recommend (for reasons I’m unsure of) would be Joan or Pygmalion

I really like Shaw and want to see much more :)

Broadway has been very good to me. But then, I've been very good to broadway.


#4 fringefan

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:00 PM

Even Heartbreak House, Reich?  I mean in view of the poor reviews?  I booked but am no longer planning to go and know of no-one who could use my ticket, even though I'd be giving it away!

#5 Lynette

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:37 PM

I'll say it again: My Fair Lady is better than Pygmalion. Sadly we don't seem to have ability to do similar with the rest.

#6 Honoured Guest

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 04:16 PM

Mrs Warren's Profession is quite often revived and is less convoluted. However it's lost its original bite. I wouldn't be very surprised if Chichester were to stage it starring Penelope Keith. I agree GBS was an old windbag. Some of his plays are published with his original prefaces which are longer than the actual playtexts. Caesar and Cleopatra is extremely tedious.

#7 Emsworthian

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 04:57 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 25 July 2012 - 04:16 PM, said:

Mrs Warren's Profession is quite often revived and is less convoluted. However it's lost its original bite. I wouldn't be very surprised if Chichester were to stage it starring Penelope Keith. I

It was done at Chichester a couple of years ago with Felicity Kendall as a touring production during the winter season.  I didn't see it but those who did said they felt that the production "lacked something."

BTW fringefan I'd be interested in the "Heartbreak House" ticket if it is for a matinee performance.

#8 David J

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 05:08 PM

View PostLynette, on 25 July 2012 - 03:37 PM, said:

I'll say it again: My Fair Lady is better than Pygmalion. Sadly we don't seem to have ability to do similar with the rest.

I must say for some reason I like the musical because of the songs rather than the story it is based upon
My reviews can also be found at "A Night at the Theatre"

http://www.anightatthetheatre.co.uk/

#9 steveatplays

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 05:29 PM

Differing reactions to Doctor's Dilemma. I heard one man remark to his female companion, "Very dated, very boring!" but she said "Oh really, I thought it was excellent!" I'm with her and Reich. :)

Yes, Danny Boyle was not on hand to update the immediacy of the story by having gelatinous cocoons, 8 minutes of wordlessness and trains thundering towards the audience. He's too busy modernising the Olympic opening ceremony. But that wouldn't be right for Shaw anyway. He's all about words.

I would agree that attempting to save a woman from her "scoundrel" of a husband may indeed feel like a dated concept, but this play is much more than that. It's about how figures of authority and influence have carte blanche to make or break other people's lives, with little to no accountability. Doctors today play God every day when they determine who does and doesn't get the rationed resources of the NHS, and the portrait of doctors in this play is approached with mischievous humour. Apart from the soulful David Calder, as the moral conscience of the piece, and Aden Gillett, as the protagonist Doctor with important decisions to make, the other doctors all seem Pythonesque, a ministry of silly quacks, if you will.

For me, the humour works. Also, the moral decisions about how to weigh one life against another and the extent to which personal prejudices can influence the outcome are interesting.

But more than anything, this is a cast of mostly older men acting brilliantly. Aden Gillett unthreads the convoluted wordiness with ease, making the plot threads ever easy to follow, and the cerebral action involving. As the only man with a clear head advising Gillett's Sir Colenso Ridgeon in his difficult decisions, and guiding his conscience, David Calder is excellent. And so too is Malcolm Sinclair, as a quack doctor who doesn't know he's a quack, who makes the play's funniest speech.

I really liked this. 4 STARS. :)

#10 fringefan

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:28 PM

View PostEmsworthian, on 25 July 2012 - 04:57 PM, said:

It was done at Chichester a couple of years ago with Felicity Kendall as a touring production during the winter season.  I didn't see it but those who did said they felt that the production "lacked something."

BTW fringefan I'd be interested in the "Heartbreak House" ticket if it is for a matinee performance.

Indeed it is, Emsworthian, for Friday 3 August and if you can do that date you'd be very welcome, but I have tried to send you a personal message and the system says you cannot receive these.  If you or anyone else can help, I'd be grateful!





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