That Is All You Need To Know, by Idle Motion, Pulse Festival, New Wolsey Theatre, May 28

PULSE Festival 2015, That Is All You Need To Know

PULSE Festival 2015, That Is All You Need To Know - Credit: Archant

The release of the film The Imitation Game and the play Breaking The Code means that the world knows a lot about codebreaker Alan Turing but what about the rest of The Bletchley Park boffins?

That Is All You Need To Know is an imaginiative and highly inventive way of putting The Bletchley Park story onstage.

The play is drawn from first person testimony, which we hear excerpts from played on stage, while the performers flip between characters in 1991, 1974 and 1939.

The play is not just about Bletchley during the war years it also examines how the park was saved from developers by local supporters and how the secrecy surrounding the site was finally and at times painfully stripped away in the 1970s.

The staging is simple and fast-moving with the six performers each playing two roles and moving some highly adaptable tables, chairs and filing cabinets about to transform scenes from wartime offices into high security fencing.

The actors also manged to turn their characters into real people rather than historical stereotypes. New hats and coats were more than enough to create different personalities as the play swept along. These were people we got to know and enjoyed spending time with and understood a little of their bewilderment at being drafted and their nervousness at sharing exactly what went on at Britain’s most secret codebreaking establishment.

This was a hugely enjoyable, wonderfully engaging piece of theatre and made you realise that this would be a brilliant way to teach history to disinterested school kids.

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