It is important to be clear about Kidman’s failures because the character she plays, Rosalind Franklin, at least in the version of history which Ziegler endorses in her script, is a towering figure in the unlocking of the DNA double helix, a woman betrayed, belittled and beaten by a pack of self-serving, sanctimonious and utterly vile men. For the play to work, Kidman’s character needs to be inspirational, complicated, difficult, extraordinary; coming across as a mediocre functionary is simply not enough.
The Michael Grandage Company have released this picture pf Nicole Kidman as Rosalind Franklin in the upcoming play Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler. Photograph 51 runs at the Noel Coward Theatre from 5 September – 21 November 2015. Joining Nicole in Photograph 51 are Will Attenborough (James Watson), Edward Bennett (Francis Crick), Stephen Campbell Moore (Maurice Wilkins), Patrick Kennedy (Don Caspar) and Joshua Silver (Ray Gosling). Photograph 51 marks the return of the Michael Grandage Company to the West End folowing their acclaimed season in 2013/14. Photograph 51 is Rosalind Franklin’s story. Does Rosalind Franklin know how precious her photograph is? In the race to unlock the secret of life it could be the one to hold the key. With rival scientists looking everywhere for the answer, who will be first to see it and more importantly, understand it? Anna Ziegler’s extraordinary play looks at the woman who cracked DNA … Read more
The play is staged in the round with a pleasing and teasing contrast between the artifice stage convention and informality. The gestures towards setting are practical and functional and do not distract from the verbal duelling of the players, which is the heart and centre of the action. While there have been several productions in the USA, this play has had only one previous outing here, and for the quality and intensity of the writing and acting it deserves a long and successful run.
Christopher Luscombe’s very funny version of the Beatrice/Benedick show complete with magnificent, period set (Simon Highlett), some fabulous costumes, Nigel Hess’ delightful music and Jenny Arnold’s joyful movement. Setting the play in the post-World War 1 period works nicely; the sense of changing times is entirely appropriate. It’s a gentle but frisky time and you can almost hear the approach of the flappers.