by Michael Frayn
Margrethe Bohr ………………….. Elaine Elliott
Niels Bohr ———————- Keith Cummings
Werner Heisenberg ———– Chris Millington
Director————– Michael Philips
Lightings and sound……….. Dave Mason
Prompt—————- Glynis Cummings
Publicity design……………. Dave Millard
Phyl Romeril ( Waltham Forest Guardian)
Copenhagen is a different Michael Frayn production, a three-way marathon from the beginning of modern atomic theory to Hiroshima. It requires concentration and dedication not only by the actors but also by the audience, which needs to get under the surface to understand the depth of the relationship and the scientific reasons for what they did or did not do.
Chris Millington, Elaine Elliott and Keith Cummings kept us engrossed as they unravelled the whys and wherefores from beyond the grave. Far from being bored by so many words, the direction of Michael Philips tranfixed our attention on the knowledge not previously available.
It was a difficult subject to contend with but these three. with some effective lighting and sound from Dave mason, clearly and volubly set the seed of doubt and questioned once again what kind of world it would be if alternative decisions were made.
Mark Fletcher ( Harlow Star)
GLORIOUS STORY OF A NUCLEAR FUSION
Meeting between two nuclear physicists in the titular Danish capital may not sound like a recipe for exciting human drama but that’s exactly what we got in this glorious adaptation of Michael Frayan’s superb play.
The importance of the encounter between Danish scientist Niels Bohr, his wife Margrethe and his German colleague/friend Werner Heisenberg in 1941 cannot be overstated as Frayn suggests it literally decided the fate of World War Two.
Although no-one for sure knows why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen, Frayn hints it was because, appalled at the prospects of developing a nuclear bomb for Hitler, he was prepared to risk everything to ensure the Allies got the upper hand.
Via scenes in which all three are dead and their spirits look back with the benefit of hindsight other motives emerge, including Heisenberg’s desire to seek understanding from his friend and father figure when he didn’t understand himself.
Bearing in mind the mind-melting subject matter of two men chatting about quantum theory, the uncertainty principle and the chemical composition of isotopes, Frayn uses this as an analogy to explore the spiky relationship between the two scientists.
In the wrong hands it could have been a recipe for disaster, but Global flawlessly cut through the complexities and presented that most basic of theatrical concepts- a stirring human drama.
Elaine Elliott gave Margrethe the necessary layman’s perspective, while Keith Cummings and Chris Millington ( a Harlow councillor in his spare time) as Bohr and Heisenberg were mesmerising as the two men who come to realise the sheer weight of responsibility on their shoulders.
Unshowy direction By Michael Philips suited the pared-down approach by global which just goes to prove you don’t need a laser show and big bangs to make a first-class production.
Thurrock Drama festival
Best Play————————— Copenhagen
Best Director—————– Michael Philips
Best Actress———————–Elaine Elliott
Best Actor——————– Chris Millington