Pressure / our review
tense THRILLING Funny
Jul 10th, 2018
Pressure Shines Through The Storm
If you thought that David Haig's Pressure was simply a play about the weather, you'd be seriously mistaken. Set on the Friday before D Day, Haig's play takes us behind the history books and enlightens us Brits to what it actually took to win WWII - one man and his barometer.
Group Captain James Stagg is a Scottish scientist whose game-changing methods in meteorology have brought him to the attention of the most powerful men in the War Effort. Now enlisted by the Allied Forces, Stagg must put his metal to the test and aid General Eisenhower in carrying out the biggest military operation of the war so far, D-Day.
Opening onto a somewhat dishevelled stage (there's a war on you know!) Pressure starts out relatively slow, people are introduced, typewriters are called for and coffee is poured. But, it doesn't stay like that for long, soon enough the audience is caught up in the drama of what it takes to plan an invasion. The 'pressure' is really piled on when Stagg comes up against the United States' weatherman, Colonel Krick. With his sunny optimism and somewhat basic meteorological skills, Stagg must fight this golden boy for what he believes is right and save 350,000 lives in the process.
Playwright David Haig delights as James Stagg, from his soft Scottish accent to his passionate tirades about the elusive, and hotly contested, jet stream, Haig brings this adoring audience into the inner folds of Stagg's troubled mind. One minute you are chuckling at his unadorned jokes about the unpredictability of the British weather ("that's why we love to talk about it"), to being totally enthralled by Stagg's vast knowledge of unseen entities, to the heart-wrenching moments of his deeply worrying family life - Haig makes you feel it all.
Malcolm Sinclair is perfect in his role of the iconic General Eisenhower, seamlessly blending his powerful stride and control with more tender moments. When the almighty General lets the stern exterior slip away to remember those who are giving up their lives for freedom, a united sense of respect washed over the audience. Laura Rogers as Kay Summersby is an under-appreciated piece of gold dust, from her impressive clipped accent to her unwavering strength, she proves that although it may look like the men are pulling the strings, it's the women who really kept everything running 'tickety-boo'.
Don't be put off by this play for its meteorological theme, Pressure is more than that. A slice of history that we never get taught, a dramatic thrill ride, an edge of your seat tear-jerker Pressure is really the play to watch this summer - whatever the weather.
View our show pages for more information about Pressure, Royal Alexandra Theatre.