Friday, September 22

Alan Turing Guilty Of Love – Hill Street Theatre, Edinburgh

A decent sized crowd half-fill this nice little raked traditional theatre venue for a brand new musical, Produced and Directed by David Kettle. Seeking at its core to expose the disgraceful torment and shame piled on the code-breaking genius by the British establishment due to his homosexuality.

Jamie Sheasby is simply electrifying in the demanding lead role, rarely off stage with a sheath of lines and multiple songs and a massive arc to accomplish, from nervous schoolboy to war code-breaker at Bletchley Park to persecuted adult, he is completely committed and utterly believable.

I enjoyed the Enigma machine scene, the script, the acting, the choreography, and the song, ‘man is a machine’, which ran through it. Sheasby is again very good in delivering this scene and song. Unfortunately, one man cannot carry a whole production.

Across town I reviewed an alternative production of the Alan Turing story, just yesterday, and it is certainly very interesting to compare and contrast the two, which are very different in scale, structure and approach. Let the battle of the ‘Turings’ commence!

Todays’ serving certainly aims high in its scale and breadth, it is longer by about 25 minutes, and has a much larger cast of 8 (compared to 2), but, ironically perhaps, it felt over-complicated, forced and claustrophobic in places, weighed down by its own ambitions and only partly successful in achieving its goals.

Script and lyrics by Michael Brand and Jane Bramwell dragged a bit and could benefit from a rewrite and trim down in places. Stylistically, the production felt discordant, no more so than in the character of the wandering minstrel / troubadour who appears strumming a guitar and singing quietly about not very much at various points. This is so different to the rest of the production it feels like an unnecessary afterthought.

Promising, and with some great talent, but could be even better.

Running time – 1hr 30mins

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 5th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.