Antony Sher 'masterful' as Sigmund Freud in Hysteria
Revival of Freud farce at Hampstead Theatre gives Antony Sher one of his greatest stage roles
What you need to know
A revival of Terry Johnson's Freud farce Hysteria has opened at the Hampstead Theatre, London. Johnson directs his own 1993 play, which had a successful run at the Theatre Royal Bath last year.
Hysteria is set in Hampstead in 1938 where Sigmund Freud has moved to escape Nazi-occupied Austria. Freud's plans for peace in his final years are interrupted by the arrival of Salvador Dali and a naked woman.
Antony Sher stars as Freud. With David Horovitch and Adrian Schiller. Until 5 October.
What the critics like
Johnson's play is weird and wonderful, "sublimely silly one moment, supremely serious the next", says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. You need a great cast to bind these lurches in tone, and Johnson has got just that.
Hysteria is "splendidly silly and sometimes deliriously funny, but it's also very smart", says Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times. It's a troubling comedy, disturbingly well done and Sher is quietly masterful as Freud.
Johnson's play is "an exhilarating tightrope walk between sanity and madness", says Tim Walker in the Daily Telegraph. Sher proves a master of comedy and Freud is one his greatest ever stage creations.
What they don't like
At times Johnson's production "seems somewhat better than his script", says Rachel Halliburton in Time Out. The play ranges from the conceptually sublime to the sometimes disappointingly ridiculous, but the performances are uniformly glorious. ·