Pressure at the Park Theatre
A fascinating look at a riveting time in history – World War II – David Haig’s Pressure, directed by John Dove, is a multi-faceted production that focuses on the events of D-Day in relation to weather. Based on documented happenings, the play shows how storm predictions forced a change of the date originally planned for this historically momentous invasion.
Although 5th June was the day General Eisenhower (Malcolm Sinclair) had chosen and is reluctant to alter, after much effort chief meteorological officer Captain Stagg (David Haig) convinces him to postpone it as he predicts highly hazardous conditions – despite the insistence of his adversary Colonel Irving Krick (Philip Cairns) that the forecast for 5th June indicates blue skies and sun. Since a second dangerous weather system is also on its way, an eight-hour period between the two storms is finally chosen for the landing on 6th June 1944, when D-Day actually occurred. Meanwhile, heightening tension, Haig’s wife is about to give birth at a nearby hospital, after a previous birthing experience that was nearly fatal.
Dove’s direction is outstanding and the piece is beautifully written by Haig – heartfelt, thrilling, humanly perceptive as well as politically and historically thought-provoking – the work examines many concepts, such the costs of war. His performance as the dour but passionate and intuitive Scotsman Captain James Stagg is likewise superb. Sinclair is exceptional as an authoritarian Eisenhower. As the general’s – the British Kay Summersby – Laura Rogers is very convincing. Newcomer Bert Seymour as an optimistic young officer, weatherman and loyal assistant to Stagg is impressive. Several actors also very astutely play dual roles. Colin Richmond’s set is simple, concise but evocative, with huge meteorological maps and terrific weather effects.
Honouring Captain Stagg’s extraordinary services in the D-Day planning – which saved countless lives and altered the course of history – and his appointment of an OBE, Pressure is a moving, witty, enlightening, remarkable piece of theatre.
Pressure is at the Park Theatre from 28th March until 28th April 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.