Articles Comments

David Porter » Reviews » Copenhagen

Copenhagen

800px-Niels_Bohr_1935 406px-Heisenberg_10
Copenhagen

at the Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 18 July 2015

Michael Frayn’s 1998 play is based on a secret 1941 meeting in Copenhagen between physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. It’s a gripping drama – what really went on when they talked?

Danish Bohr (Kevin Oelrichs) and German Heisenberg (Rob Tiffen) had been friends before the war; now Denmark was occupied by the Nazis who were looking to beat the allies to the atomic bomb.

The non-linear play is a clever construct set after their deaths as Bohr’s wife, Margrethe (Jane de la Tour) helps the men rehearse various ‘drafts’ of what could have been discussed and its profound consequences.

Politics and physics, friendship and trust, idealism and reality intertwine in an evening that the actors handle with skill and thought, ably directed by Carole Lovett. The play is neither comedy nor tragedy, the language doesn’t contradict logic yet is a mix of the present and the past, history and ‘what if …’

The evening leaves the audience glad the Nazis didn’t get the bomb and wondering about all the shadows, hopes and ideas that swirled round the world in those war years. Thoroughly recommended.

Images: left, Neils Bohr in Copenhagen 1935; right, Werner Heisenberg c.1927

Written by

Filed under: Reviews · Tags:

One Response to "Copenhagen"

  1. Rob Tiffen says:

    Thanks for the review David. Glad you enjoyed it.