Skip to main content

Pressure

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars
Talking about the weather may be the great British talking point, but
storm and sunshine become matters of life and death in David Haig's new
World War Two set play. Based on real events leading up to the 1944 D
Day landings, the play focuses on Dalkeith-born military meteorologist
James Stagg and his sleepless quest to convince General Eisenhower to
postpone the assault until a favourable climate prevails.

Stagg's main obstacle to being taken seriously is his flamboyant
American counterpart, Irving Krick, whose glamour-chasing allure is in
stark contrast to Stagg's oddball demeanour. Throw in the fact that
Stagg's wife has just gone into labour, and the stage is set for an
increasingly urgent culture clash, where victory is celebrated with
doughnuts and whisky.

Set in a solitary room awash with charts, ringing telephones and a
coterie of generals, Haig has constructed a grippingly pacey adventure
yarn on the one hand, with Haig himself as Stagg leading a rock solid
set of performances into battle. More importantly in John Dove's
co-production between the Royal Lyceum and Chichester Festival Theatre,
Haig attempts to get to the human frailty of those in the thick of it.
At the heart of this is Kay Summersby, Eisenhower's war-time lover and
confidante, who keeps Stagg calm by visiting his wife in hospital, and
effectively keeps the mission together.

Beautifully played by Laura Rogers, it is Kay's fate that is most
telling in a tale of men at war and their responses to the women
they're closest to. While Stagg gets to be by his wife and new son's
side, Kay becomes the collateral damage of a historical moment she
helped shape.

The Herald, May 12th 2014


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…