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Robert Tanitch reviews Alexis Zegerman’s The Fever Syndrome at the Hampstead Theatre, London

Alexis Zegermans The fever syndrome, directed by Roxana Silbert, is a major American family drama. The setting is a massive old three-story house in New York, open on one side like a doll’s house, revealing three tiny cramped rooms and a staircase with a stairlift.

The main character is a grumpy elderly professor (Robert Lindsay), a great IVF innovator who has produced thousands of babies. He is about to receive a lifetime achievement award.

He is in his seventies, has Parkinson’s disease and is in a wheelchair. He has been married three times and has three children in their forties, a girl and twins.

His daughter (Lisa Dillon) is married and has a chronically ill 12-year-old daughter (Nancy Allsop) who suffers from febrile syndrome, an auto-inflammatory disease. She wants another baby, a perfect baby. Her husband (Bo Poraj), a disgraced scientist, disagrees.

One of the twins (Alex Waldmann), a successful painter, is in a gay relationship. His partner (Jake Fairbrother) wants them to get married. The other twin (Sam Marks) is an unreliable entrepreneur. His stepmother (Alexandra Gilbreath) flirts with him.

The dysfunctional family gathers for Thanksgiving. There is more debate than drama. There is a debate about caring for the elderly and disabled, and there is a debate about inheritance and who should get the money.

Genes are also discussed. “We are (I quote the text) slaves to our genes. Worse, we are slaves to our parents’ genes. Life itself is a mistake: one evolutionary genetic mutation after another.”

Overwrought, overwritten and overly long (2 hours 50 minutes including intermission), there are too many characters and too much talk.

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Robert Tanitch reviews Alexis Zegerman’s The Fever Syndrome at the Hampstead Theatre, London

Source link Robert Tanitch reviews Alexis Zegerman’s The Fever Syndrome at the Hampstead Theatre, London

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