Doctor in the House provides a post-Easter tonic at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal

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LAUGHTER like medicine has changed over years, not always for the better.

So, there should be a health warning attached to ‘Doctor in the House,’ which for many will prove a post-Easter tonic at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until this Saturday (14th).

The ‘Doctor in the House’ books, films and TV spin-offs proved money-spinners from the 1950s launching the careers of many stars, so it’s good to see such crowd-pleasers as funnyman Joe Pasquale as hapless, would-be doctor Tony Grimsdyke and Robert Powell as arrogant, over-bearing surgeon Sir Lancelot dispensing plenty of medical mayhem for modern-day audiences.

But many of the attitudes and dialogue from an early NHS era don’t always seems to hit the mark in an age where a fiercesome matron (played to perfection by Gay Soper), who ruled doctors and patients with a rod of iron, would be an oddity among present-day team leaders and nurse practitioners.

Where the comedy picks is during a “play within a play” sequence, which matron sees as an orgy, and then as the trainee doctors’ flat is turned into a makeshift operating theatre as Sir Lancelot and fellow medics attempt an examination of overweight porter Bromley (Peter Dunnell) who appears to know so much about medicine and St Swithin’s Teaching Hospital that he is taken for a doctor.

Other well-known faces having fun are former ‘EastEnders’ stalwart Emma Barton as slinky French “femme fatale” Vera, and Tom Butcher, who for seven years was Pc Steve Loxton in ‘The Bill.’

The production also allows for some comedy asides for Joe Pasquale to rise to the call -- “Is there a doctor in the house” -- as he sprints on stage for a two-hour treat that while dated still has the right prescription to make the audience laugh.

For further details of ticket prices and show times for this production, which is now a national tour until July, please contact the Theatre Royal box office on 0115-989-5555.