(reviewed at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich on 28 May)
Bletchley Park and its wartime code-breakers is very much in the news at the moment. The oath of secrecy taken by all the young men and women who worked there – selected for the most part because they displayed extraordinary mathematical abilities – still constrains many of the survivors. Idle Motion have created a collage of a show which switches effortlessly between then and now.
On one level That is All You Need to Know is visual theatre – projections, clever lighting, furniture which serves many purposes, rapid alternation between the stylised and the naturalistic. Paul Slater and Kate Stanley are the directors and the devisers are Chris Bone and Nicholas Pitt.
There are six performers, including Luke Barton as Alan Turing – the maverick genius of the place – and Christopher Hughes as Gordon Welchman – co-ordinator and frustrated chronicler.
Grace Chapman, Sophie Cullen and Ellie Simpson play both the young women who found themselves working on equal terms with the men and the modern activists determined that the Bletchley Park legacy should not be lost. Joel Gatehouse takes similar, dual roles.
It’s all quick-fire and slick, though never merely facile. There’s a sense of commitment to the story being told, one with pain and deep frustration and, in Turing’s own case especially, tragedy.
The sparing use of sound archive material adds to the historic exactitude of the core story. Projections have been created with Tom Savage with settings by Freda Johnson and costumes by Tash Prynne.
If That is All You Need to Know appears at the theatre space near you, then see it; at the moment the Pulse performance is the only one announced for the East Anglia region.
Pulse runs at various venues in Ipswich until 6 June.