City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

That is All You Need to Know Review


By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 08 August 2013

That is All You Need to Know - production photo.
4
Show details
Venue: 
Zoo Southside
Company: 
Idle Motion
Running time: 
80mins
Production: 
Paul Slater (Artistic Director), Sophie Cullen and Kate Stanley (Assistant Directors), Grace Chapman and Ellie Simpson (Producers), Greg Cebula (Lighting / Video Designer), Charlie Donegan (Sound Designer), Freda Johnson (Set Designer), Tash Prynne (Costume Designer), Lotte Wakeman (Dramaturg).
Performers: 
Chris Bone (Alan Turing), Grace Chapman (Lottie / Sarah), Sophie Cullen (Gladys / Joy), Joel Gatehouse (Hugh / George), Nicolas Pitt (Gordon Welchman), Ellie Simpson (Jane / Liz).

That is All You Need to Know celebrates the unsung war time code-breaking heroes of Bletchley Park and those who fought to save the historic site and the memories it contained.

The story is unravelled from overlapping strands of the memories of the Committee set up to save the site from the developer's bulldozers, the writing of a book by Gordon Welchman (a former section head), and the personal testimonies of those who worked there, but had to keep their secrets for over 30 years.

The plot jumps neatly between these giving a glimpse of the hidden life within the "melting pot of brilliance" that was the 1940's secret Station X. Bridging the piece is Gordon, trying to put down on paper a memoir, the lessons learned from his experiences and some acknowledgement of those concerned, but in doing so being shunned by the security community.

Each thread has its own struggle, be it with the German Enigma Code or with the authorities or just between the committee members as they amusingly step on each others toes while warring over fund-raising ideas involving a pincer attack of selling brownies and a fancy dress bike ride. On every front seemingly insuperable odds will need to be overcome.

The fact-based story is meticulously researched and faithfully represented, covering even the lesser known aspects. It highlights the role of not just the well known characters such as Alan Turing, but sheds light on the many who faced “the heroism of the long, hard slog and the burden of ugly, painful secrets", and the importance of capturing their first hand accounts when no written records remain.

This is a very grown up Idle Motion. The theatre company has come a long way in just six or so years, with high production values and taught, mature performances. The technical aspects of the visual and audio effects, using projections onto screens and objects, are executed flawlessly to create artful tableaux. The physical aspects are somewhat underplayed, often only depicting what the script has already presented or being reduced to furniture moving with an almost fetishistic faith in the power of props.

They haven't cracked it entirely - there is a missing secret enigma, an X factor - but, particularly for those coming to visual theatre or the Bletchley story for the first time, there is much to admire.

Show times

2 -24 (not 11, 18) August 2013, 5.05pm.

Ticket prices

£10 (£8) to £12 (£10)