Breaking The Code – Blackburn Drama Club, Thwaites Empire Theatre

Breaking the Code

Breaking the Code - Credit: Archant

“Breaking The Code” – Blackburn Drama Club – Thwaites Empire Theatre – Wednesday 5th March 2014

The name of Alan Turing is notorious to many for his brilliant mind and the work he did in deciphering German codes during the Second World War, but his personal story goes far beyond that and is immortalised in the stage play by Hugh Whitemore.

“Winston thought the world of him.” This is a line taken directly from the play and if the Prime Minister has these thoughts about you then the accolades are highly deserved. But Alan Turing was much more than a code breaker. He was a philosopher, a thinker, a mathematician and was influential in the development of computer science. His main vocation in life was to create a computer and to give it the ability to think for itself like a real person. Throughout his early life Turing always had a passion for numbers and mathematics, the makeup of how things worked. It was clear from the outset that his destiny would differ from many others the same age as he. The main part of Turing’s existence was not surrounding the infamous Enigma Code, but the true reality of his personal life and it is Turing’s homosexuality that played the most iconic part of his story.

“Breaking the Code” takes aspects of Turing’s life and plays them out in long dramatic sequences jumping to and from certain periods of time during his existence. The action starts in the office of Detective Ross where Turing is reporting a burglary. This is the centre point of the story and the action quickly whirlwinds around it until we uncover missing information and then start to begin to understand the full reason about what has happened.

Roger Boardman has taken a story heavily laden with dialogue and changes of scenes in an attempt to allow the story to flow through the action. The cast had an extremely difficult task set to them. To tell Turing’s story and to give it the full belief and exposure it richly deserves. They did just that. They were able, under the guidance of Roger Boardman, to portray the life of Alan Turing in a way that it warrants to be performed on a stage. Turing himself was a great intelligent mind and a production so deep in lengthy monologues and complex themes played out wonderfully for the audience.

A fantastic supporting cast featuring Dave Batterby as DS Ross, Jenny Hodkinson as Turing’s mother, Alan Taburn as Ron Miller, Paul Mason as John Smith, Dylan Allcock as Chris Morcom, Robert Talbot as Dillwyn Knox and Kate Roberts as Pat Green added to the overall performance, but it was the lead actor Martyn Pugh that stood out in his portrayal of Turing. From the moment he first stepped onto the stage he truly encapsulated the role of Alan Turing forming an intellectual air developing to an occasional soft arrogance incorporating Turing’s stammer and other mannerisms exceptionally well. The long speeches were delivered with pure intensity and the performance as a whole was as though you were watching Turing himself on stage.

Praise deservedly so to Blackburn Drama Club for once again proving the abilities of the group in putting on and delivering another terrific performance.

Most Read

The play continues showing up to and including Saturday 8th March. Curtain up at 7:30pm. For more information visit the Blackburn Drama Club website - or the Thwaites Empire Theatre -