Nicole Kidman has received rave reviews by critics for her portrayal of British scientist Rosalind Franklin in the London’s West End production of Photograph 51.
Hailed as “luminous” and “compelling,” the Oscar-winning star plays the only woman involved in the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953, as reported by the BBC.
The play, written by Anna Ziegler and directed by Michael Grandame, opened on Monday at the Noel Coward Theatre to several four-star reviews.
— Londonist (@Londonist) September 16, 2015
According to The Guardian, Kidman gives “a commanding, intelligent performance” in her return to the West End stage, after a 17-year absence.
“My only complaint about Anna Ziegler’s intriguing, informative 95-minute play is that it is not longer,” wrote Michael Billington.
Praising Kidman’s portrayal of the ecstasy of scientific discovery, Billington said her features “acquire a luminous intensity” as she stares at the now-famous photograph that reveals the DNA’s helix pattern.
“It is a fine performance in which Kidman reminds us that the scientific life can be informed by private passion,” the review continued.
— New Scientist (@newscientist) September 16, 2015
Other reviews followed suit.
Kidman has said the play is a way of acknowledging the work of her late biochemist father.
“Kidman beautifully captures the prickly defensiveness, the lonely dedication and the suppressed emotional longings of the scientist,” wrote Paul Taylor, theater critic for The Independent.
— New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts) September 15, 2015
While Kidman was praised, the Daily Express critic said the production was “let down by Michael Grandage’s spectacularly unimaginative direction.”
“If ever a production was crying out for some technical flair in the design, this is it,” he continued.
Nicole Kidman will continue her run in Photograph 51 until Nov. 21.