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Pressure – David Haig shines in D-Day inspired play

| Theatre | 18/07/2018

Robert Day © Laura Rogers and Daivd Haig
Robert Day © Laura Rogers and Daivd Haig

By Sandip Kana

Pressure, David Haig’s wartime drama about Second World War weathermen, has now hit the West End and looks set to succeed.  After all, if there are two things the British love, it’s complaining about the weather and reliving our most memorable battles.

The splendidly written and skilfully acted play centres on the period leading up to the D-Day landings and the pivotal role played by weathermen in calculating the optimal date to launch the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Again playing to the home crowd, the story pits a British meteorologist against his American counterpart.  General Eisenhower (Malcolm Sinclair) wants to reach Normandy on 5th June 1944 and is assured by his countryman Colonel Krick (Philip Cairns) that the current spate of good weather will hold out.  However, Krick’s softly spoken Scottish counterpart – Captain James Stragg (Haig) – argues that a deeply concerning storm is on the horizon and moving fast towards the English Channel.

Robert Day © Laura Rogers and Daivd HaigJohn Dove’s production is tense, funny and very moving at times.  Haig takes centre-stage, giving a superb performance as the socially awkward but ultimately endearing Stragg.  Sinclair and Cairns are also excellent:  the former brings out Eisenhower’s apparent vulnerability and loneliness, whilst the latter does a good job as the overbearing American weatherman.  Last but by no means least, British Attaché Laura Rogers marvellously conveys the emotional intelligence and common sense needed when the intensity rises between the weathermen.

The significance of this story may be overlooked in the context of what followed, but it’s an important tale to tell in a society that demeans experts and the reliability of their forecasts.  And it’s refreshing to see such a good, old-fashioned and hearty play.  There are no tricks, no razzmatazz, just first-class acting.

Pressure is being performed at Ambassadors Theatre until 1st September 2018.  For tickets, head here.  And for more information, follow @PressureThePlay on Twitter.  All images used in this article are ©Robert Day.

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