THE DEVIL'S DOCTOR
Toured spring 2009



THE DEVIL’S DOCTOR is a comic feast of clowning and physical theatre peopled by fake physicians, tricksters, charlatans and frauds determined to cure you with leaches, foul remedies and by bleeding you dry - literally!

Amongst them lived Paracelsus – 16th century Physician and Alchemist.
Genius or swindler?
Drunkard or visionary?

Decide for yourself as Paracelsus cheats death, works miracle cures, quarrels with priests and kings, and attracts legends galore.

During a time when old certainties were crumbling and there was terror and wonder everywhere, Paracelsus claimed that he held the key to life, the universe, the very soul of humanity…

THE DEVIL’S DOCTOR reveals the comic and heart breaking
life of one of the most controversial figures in the history of science and medicine.

THE WELLCOME TRUST funded the Devil’s Doctor

THE DEVIL’S DOCTOR celebrates the riotous life of this mercurial Renaissance man as he weaves his fractious, meandering and decidedly tipsy path through the social, intellectual and religious upheavals of his time. Using a rich blend of clown and grotesque theatre, Commedia dell’Arte and puppetry, Shifting Sands reveal a world in tumult, peopled by revolutionaries, visionaries and charlatans… the world of Martin Luther and Hieronymus Bosch. We paint a portrait of a remarkable age, while raising questions about our own understanding of the world, and the consequences of modern ideas and inventions.

The show is the result of collaboration with Paracelsus’s most recent biographer, the science writer Philip Ball. Philip’s book, also entitled The Devil’s Doctor, has been called “entertaining and edifying in a way in which so few biographies are” (Sunday Telegraph). “Were a film about Paracelsus to be made today, it would have to be based on this excellent biography”, said the Independent – here that vision will be realised instead on the stage in a unique collaboration.