Next Stage Theatre Company is proud to announce the Bath première of another topical, modern, award-winning play: Doubt.
It begins innocently enough: Father Brendan Flynn, a charismatic priest and teacher at St Nicholas’ School, inspires congregations with his sermons and enthuses pupils with his lessons. Sympathetic, sporty and friendly, Father Flynn seems a perfect role model to his 12 year-old charges.
The School’s principal, Sister Aloysius, is the opposite of Father Flynn: reserved, distant and severe. And she starts to have doubts: a chance word, a suspicious event, an unacceptable trait, these are enough to make the judgemental nun question Father Flynn’s probity in the most fundamental of trusts: that between a priest and the boys in his care. The young Sister James and Father Flynn himself do all they can to protest his innocence but Sister Aloysius’s doubt becomes all-consuming.
John Patrick Shanley’s play written in 2004, but set in 1960’s New York, is a searing exploration of topical issues. In 2012 the Catholic Church still faces accusations of child abuse by priests, and in this day and age of instant news and social media there is often nowhere for a person to hide if the rumour mill runs out of control. Above all, Doubt reminds audiences that life is rarely black or white, a fact we should remember if we presume to sit in judgement over others.
Next Stage’s powerful production of Doubt features Caroline Groom as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the role taken by Meryl Streep in the 2008 film, and Jason LeMoir as Father Flynn.
Doubt by John Patrick Shanley is: “that rarity of rarities, an issue-driven play that is unpreachy, thought-provoking and full of high drama…the best new play of the season.” (Wall Street Journal, 2004)