Ambassadors Theatre, West Street, London WC2
Written by David Haig, Pressure made its world premiere at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in 2014, before transferring to the Chichester festival the same year. In 2018, the play was revived for a UK tour and transferred to the West End on the 6th June 2018, the 74th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Pressure tells the true story of Scottish meteorologist group captain James Stagg. Stagg was called to allied headquarters in Portsmouth to advise Dwight Eisenhower on the weather conditions for the D-Day landings, originally scheduled for June 5th, 1944. There was conflict of opinion about the weather forecast for that date between Stagg and US meteorologist Colonel Irving Krick. Stagg predicted severe storms whilst Krick predicted a calm summers day. With 350,000 lives at stake, Stagg attempts to convince Eisenhower to postpone the D-Day landings for 24 hours.
Director John Dove has created a production that is warm, fast paced and tense. There are moments of humour peppered throughout this production which eases the tension effectively.
Colin Richmond’s one room set effectively transports the viewer into a make shift map room with sparse furniture and equipment; a large weather chart mapping air currents dominating the back wall of the stage.
Laura Rogers gives a captivating performance as Kay Summersby, the driver and confidante of Eisenhower. Her performance suggesting her adoration and closeness to the famous General.
Malcolm Sinclair excels as General Eisenhower portraying him as a captivating, strong courageous man with a commanding presence.
There is very good chemistry between Rogers and Sinclair which enhances both performances.
David Haig is outstanding as Stagg the gruff, gloomy, straight talking Scott. Due to the stress and the pressure he is under, Stagg appears to physically breakdown on stage as the audience witness his body shake uncontrollably. Haig delivered a superb performance.
Pressure is a witty, gripping, tense drama of the unsung heroes of World War II who deserve the recognition this production gives them.
Pressure runs at the Ambassadors Theatre until 1st September 2018.
Theatretastic rating 5/5:
Witty, gripping and tense
We say: “Pressure is a witty, gripping, tense drama of the unsung heroes of World War II who deserve the recognition this production gives them. Superb!”