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Critics praise 'commanding' Kidman in Photograph 51

Nicole Kidman's long-awaited return to the London stage in Anna Ziegler's play about DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin didn't disappoint

Joshua Silver (Ray Gosling) and Nicole Kidman (Rosalind Franklin) in Photograph 51
© Johan Persson

Theo Bosanquet, WhatsOnStage


"Credit to director Michael Grandage for bringing Anna Ziegler's insightful play about British scientist Rosalind Franklin, whose work was central to the discovery of DNA, to London"

"Kidman does buttoned-up with aplomb, and though Ziegler underdraws large aspects of Franklin's life, we certainly get enough of a sense of her work, which was driven by an almost monomaniacal commitment to detail."

Michael Billington, Guardian


"It's a commanding, intelligent performance and my only complaint about Anna Ziegler's intriguing, informative 95-minute play is that it is not longer."

"It is a fascinating story and Kidman's performance captures the complexities in Franklin's character."

"Grandage's production... matches the text in swiftness and clarity and is beautifully designed by Christopher Oram"

Ben Brantley, New York Times

"Ms Kidman makes it clear that she is in charge here, and woe unto those of us who doubt it."

"The other cast members are all male and uniformly good."

"Kidman, who turns Franklin's guardedness into as much a revelation as a concealment of character, is pretty close to perfection."

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph


"As an acting choice, it could hardly be further removed from the sexually charged carousel of characters [Kidman] paraded before Donmar audiences all those years ago"

"Although her kit is Fifties demure, the caboodle of her nuanced performance is the stuff of intoxication."

"Although the supporting male performances suffer from scantily written roles, Grandage directs it all with characteristically fluid aplomb"

Mark Shenton, The Stage


"Photograph 51... alights on an utterly compelling story of scientific discovery."

"in an intricately layered series of revelations, it becomes several plays all at once: a thriller about a race of discovery; an exposé about sexism in science... and a treatise about loneliness"

"The result is a beautiful, tender and surprising new play that elevates the West End."

Ann Treneman, The Times


"From the moment that Kidman appears on stage, and it is the very first moment of this new play by Anna Ziegler, we are in A-list territory."

"Science is hard to put on stage... Yet here Michael Grandage, the director, has created something special and authentic"

"The play (90 minutes long) may be set in the Fifties, but it feels modern."

Paul Taylor, Independent


"In her compelling and subtle performance, Kidman beautifully captures the prickly defensiveness, the lonely dedication, and the suppressed emotional longings of the scientist."

"But you see how she has become her own worst enemy from the behaviour of Stephen Campbell Moore's excellent clumsily distraught - and here romantically smitten - Wilkins."

"When she's diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the bitter-sweet might-have-beens never become cloying."

Photograph 51 runs at the Noel Coward Theatre until 21 November - 25% of seats are available for £10 on the day of performance