Thursday, 2 August 2012

A Doctor's Dilemma

AT a time when the NHS is under so much scrutiny and decisions are being made on its future, it is perhaps fitting to have a revival of George Bernard Shaw’s witty and entertaining play, The Doctor’s Dilemma.

Written in 1906 it makes a case against privatised medicine and how doctors should be held to account for the decisions they make.

The current production now on at the National’s Lyttleton Theatre is great fun thanks in no small way to the top notch cast and beautiful set.

Aden Gillett plays the newly knighted Sir Colenso Ridgeon who believes he has found a potential cure for tuberculosis but only has a limited number of places on his trial.

One day the beautiful Jenifer Dubedat (corr sp) arrives at his Harley Street consulting rooms begging him to save the life of her artist husband Louis who has the illness.

Ridgeon and five of his medical friends invite the pair to dinner to assess whether Dubedat should be saved.

The medics, pompous and frock-coated, are beguiled by the charismatic Dubedat (Tom Burke) and his lovely wife, and decide his life is worth saving, even at the expense of another.

However, no sooner are they congratulating themselves on making their decision than they realise their friend Dr Blenkinsop is also afflicted with the disease and Dubedat is not the man they thought he was.

Ridgeon then faces his dilemma. Should he help the likeable Dr Blenkinsop (played by Derek Hutchinson) who is a man of principle but has no money, or the morally questionable but gifted young painter Dubedat?

His decision is not helped by the fact he has fallen for Dubedat’s wife (played by Genevieve O'Reilly).

With excellent performances all round and full of hilarious one-liners this is a production which makes for an entertaining evening.

The Doctor’s Dilemma is on until September 12.

Tickets cost from £12. Call the box office on 020 7452 3000.