Tag Archives: Robert Lindsay


The Fever Syndrome


Hampstead Theatre


The Fever Syndrome

Hampstead Theatre

Reviewed – 5th April 2022



“there isn’t a weak performance in the whole cast”


Alexis Zegerman’s new play, The Fever Syndrome, set in New York, is about a driven, intellectual family dealing with life changing illness. Front and centre in the drama is patriarch Richard Myers, living with the last stages of Parkinson’s. His only grandchild, Lily, suffers from a mysterious genetic disease characterized by high fevers. In both cases, though in very different ways, both grandfather and grandchild are afflicted by diseases that are literally attacking their chances at life. It turns out that their family, rife with internecine rivalry, is also attacking people’s chances at life, despite the display of liberal politics and cutting edge business ideas. Zegerman’s play does capture much of the authenticity of American family life, at least in New York City, but many Americans may feel that it takes more than a dogged commitment to the Mets baseball team to make Richard Myers a truly sympathetic character. The Fever Syndrome is disappointing, ultimately, since it is unclear who we are supposed to be rooting for.

The Fever Syndrome is a long play. Unnecessarily long. It’s the sort of drama that Netflix would divide into several episodes, and we’d all be grateful for the break between the intense scenes that characterize unfinished business between father and children. Scenes that draw in partners — both established, and new to the family dynamics — and all the children, past and present, that present in flickering movements, both real and surreal. In the constant upheaval, it’s easy to lose track of the event that has gathered the family together, and which marks the starting point for this sprawling plot. Richard Myers has been awarded the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for his work in IVF (which produced the so called “test tube babies”) allowing infertile couples to have children of their own. In the living room of Richard’s New York brownstone is a space dedicated to all the families he has helped to create. It is ironic, therefore, that his own family is constantly on the brink of disintegration. The Fever Syndrome is, at its heart, about a groundbreaking scientist who brought all these children into the world but couldn’t raise his own. And despite the scientific gloss — the references to RIchard’s work, and later, the diseases that are systematically and relentlessly destroying his life and Lily, his granddaughter’s life —this is what the play is about. Another American family, rent from within by toxic parent child relationships, and playing out psycho-logical dramas that hint at Sophoclean proportions, on their living room floors. This is overly familiar territory, despite all the contemporary trimmings.

Director Roxana Silbert has assembled a cast brimming with talent, and a terrific design team for The Fever Syndrome. Robert Lindsay, as Richard, does, like the character he plays, award worthy work. Lindsay plays the fractious father and Parkinson’s sufferer so well that it is easy to forget that he manages comedy, and musicals, just as effortlessly. He is well matched by Alexandra Gilbreath, playing Richard’s third wife, Megan. Both actors are completely in command of the layered, complex characters that Zegerman has created. But then, there isn’t a weak performance in the whole cast. The adult children, Dot (Lisa Dillon), Thomas (Alex Waldmann) and Anthony (Sam Marks) play out their rivalries in ways that shift the audience’s sympathies from one to the other like watching an intense tennis match. Their partners Nate (Bo Poraj) and Philip (Jake Fairbrother) watch from the sidelines until they can take no more. And at the still centre of the family storm is teenager Lily (Nancy Allsop) and, from time to time, the mysterious young Dot (Charlotte Pourret Wythe) who can only be seen by Richard. The set, designed by Lizzie Clachan, is also award worthy, making the most of the Hampstead Theatre’s stage to create a fitting backdrop to this complicated family’s dynamics. There is much to admire in this production, despite its length, and the lack of a satisfying ending.


Reviewed by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Ellie Kurttz


The Fever Syndrome

Hampstead Theatre until 30th April


Recently reviewed at this venue:
Big Big Sky | ★★★★ | August 2021
Night Mother | ★★★★ | October 2021
The Two Character Play | ★★★★ | July 2021
The Forest | ★★★ | February 2022


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Hampstead Theatre – Autumn Season


Hampstead Theatre announces its Autumn season for the Main Stage:


• The world premiere of Prism, based on the life of legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff, is written and directed by Terry Johnson and will star Robert Lindsay and Claire Skinner.

• The world premiere of Nicholas Wright’s The Slaves of Solitude, adapted from the acclaimed novel by Patrick Hamilton, will be directed by Jonathan Kent.

• The first production of Simon Gray’s Cell Mates since 1995 will be directed by Artistic Director Edward Hall.


New Initiatives


• Hampstead Theatre’s Inspire: The Next Playwright Programme is an opportunity for playwrights with new ideas, talent and energy to develop their craft under the mentorship of award-winning playwright Roy Williams.

• The Downstairs Club, a free membership scheme for under 30s, will provide better access to Hampstead’s cheaper tickets across the Main Stage and Downstairs.



Artistic Director Edward Hall said:

‘I’m extremely proud to announce such an exciting body of work at Hampstead Theatre this autumn. With two world premieres on the Main Stage, Terry Johnson’s Prism and Nicholas Wright’s adaptation of The Slaves of Solitude, and a long overdue revival of Simon Gray’s Cell Mates, our aim is to continue to provide endless nights of top quality and entertaining theatre for hundreds of thousands of theatregoers. I’m personally looking forward to Gray’s gripping espionage thriller and I hope to help it gain its rightful place in the repertoire as a serious, brilliant piece of British drama.
I’m also proud to introduce ‘Inspire: The Next Playwright Programme’, where 18 – 25 years olds have the opportunity to be mentored by Roy Williams for a year, developing their writing skills and script ideas. We also hope our new membership scheme for under 30s will provide even better access to our cheaper tickets across both of our auditoria. This scheme will offer priority booking ensuring that great theatre remains accessible to the next generation and is an expression of our commitment at Hampstead Theatre to audiences of the future.’