That Is All You Need To Know
Lowry Studio, Salford
Attempting to explain the top-secret wartime exploits of Bletchley Park and juxtapose those with a more contemporary need to reveal that work to the world is a Big Ask.
It’s the kind of theme that intrigues writers like Michael Frayn and then maybe gets National Theatre backing.
So it’s a measure of the confidence of a tiny theatre company such as Idle Motion, and the support given to them by this venue, when this 80-minute première production achieves all it does, and then some, with theatrical panache.
That Is All You Need To Know tells the story of the motley collection of code breakers, crossword crackers and others whose diligent work helped hasten the end of World War Two. They were the backroom boys and girls of the war effort prevented by the Official Secrets Act from even revealing their role afterwards.
The play then switches back and forth 46 years in time to a group of equally-earnest young people determined to preserve the Buckinghamshire HQ and then publicise its role.
All that would be quite enough, but then Idle Motion turn it into even more exhilarating theatre with intricate and clever use of film and computerised projection so that—for example—images from the war in the Atlantic play across office desk lids, or complex mathematical code-breaking equations are drawn across the stage backdrop.
Some of the stagecraft and movement is just occasionally slightly self-conscious and the acting does not always run on the well-oiled castors of the stage props, but you can’t escape the feeling that here is the genesis of a small piece of theatre that deserves far greater exposure.
Exactly the kind of production that fits into the Lowry's Accelerate programme, aiming to develop emergent theatre companies and their work.
Reviewer: David Upton