There is much to commend Idle Motion's new production That Is All You Need to Know. In focusing on the members of the work force at Bletchley Park breaking their silences they've chosen fascinating subject material, complementing it with impressive research.
This attention to detail is clear all the way through the production in the diversity of characters represented, the selection of visual and audio archived material utilised and the well-choreographed movement of set and actors around the stage.
The actors were clearly invested in the multiple characters each played throughout the piece, with Sophie Cullen delivering a particularly entertaining performance as the antagonistic Joy.
However, despite some spectacular stage work, the production often felt a little clunky. Although the use of multimedia was exciting and innovative it, at times, felt entirely superfluous to the story.
More importantly, the number of different framing devices used to structure the play made for a rather confusing combination of approaches to the subject. We had the lady writing a play, the local committee trying to save the building, Gordon Welchman writing a book as well as the original workers at Bletchley Park telling their stories.
While all were effective as standalone framing devices, placed altogether they made for a rather overcomplicated piece which seemed to skim the surface of the issues rather than delving deeply into them.
Despite these misgivings it's fair to say that Idle Motion have approached an important topic with passion and sensitivity, and have transformed their research into a beautiful, thoughtful and earnest piece of theatre.
- Lucy Danser
That Is All You Need to Know continues at Zoo Southside until 24 August 2013