Muswell Hill psychotherapist’s dramatic new take on Freud - in his own Hampstead museum

PUBLISHED: 10:36 27 November 2012

Stephen Gross pictured with a bust of Freud at the Freud Museum. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Stephen Gross pictured with a bust of Freud at the Freud Museum. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

A Muswell Hill psychotherapist’s analytical gaze will be turned on Freud himself in a play imagining the father of psychoanalysis on his deathbed.

Andrew Wall, who plays Freud, and Natasha de Meric, who plays Anna Freud, rehearse Freud's Night Visitors. Picture: Nigel SuttonAndrew Wall, who plays Freud, and Natasha de Meric, who plays Anna Freud, rehearse Freud's Night Visitors. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Stephen Gross, of Barnard Hill, has Shakespeare, Hamlet and Freud’s father appear before the dying psychoanalyst to confront him about his life and work, in his debut play Freud’s Night Visitors.

Mr Gross, 67, has also gone straight to the source for his play, debuting it at the Freud Museum itself.

As a psychotherapist, Mr Gross is reluctant to attribute a single motivation to penning the drama, but says the idea stemmed from his career-long interest in Freud and literature.

“It started life as an article I wrote from Hamlet’s perspective, telling Freud he got the interpretation wrong,” said Gross. “But when a friend pointed out that Freud should also be given a voice, I got the idea of developing it into a play.”

The drama centres on troubled father-son relationships, one of Freud’s main interests. It takes inspiration from theories that Freud saw Shakespeare as a difficult paternal figure, whom he first accepted as the prolific playwright but whose identity he later questioned.

Climaxing with Hamlet accusing Freud of treating him like a patient - the psychoanalyst theorised that Hamlet’s delay in avenging his father’s murder could be explained by the Oedipal Complex - the three ‘night visitors’ each challenge Freud and eventually reconcile with him through conflicted exchanges.

Gross, who was a social worker before qualifying in psychotherapy nearly 30 years ago, puts his career choices down to a lifelong interest in human motivations, behaviours and actions. And his first foray into drama may spell a future as a playwright - but Gross is cautious not to promise more plays, saying it will depend on how this one is received by audiences.

- Freud’s Night Visitors will be performed at the Freud Museum, Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, on Tuesday, December 4, at 7pm, followed by a question and answer session.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 14:49

Transport for London is set to review safety issues at an accident blackspot in Falloden Way,

Yesterday, 13:45

Circus-goers on Hampstead Heath got a shock today when walking down from the Heath they were confronted with a water main shooting water high into the air on the corner of Pilgrim’s Lane and Willow Road in Hampstead.

Yesterday, 10:53

Camden’s youngsters were in the spotlight at the Shaw Theatre for an evening celebrating the borough’s talent.

Mon, 15:35

Wage cuts for nurses covering sick leave and other increases in demand at Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital have been postponed after workers threatened to cancel shifts en masse.

Mon, 15:00

Brexit uncertainty is one reason for a slowdown in Camden house prices, said a leading estate agent after new data showed that property values in the borough fell 0.8 per cent in August and 2.1pc in the last 12 months.

Mon, 14:05

Tickets for a public meeting into the future of the Phoenix Cinema have sold out within days of it being announced.

Mon, 13:57

Mitzvah Day volunteers from Hampstead were among those taking part in Sewa Day – a Hindu day of community action – in Kingsbury, Brent this weekend.

Mon, 10:29

As part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Haringey Police have been engaging with the community to raise awareness of the importance of reporting abuse and discrimination.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now