Pressure by David Haig

Pressure by David Haig and directed by John Dove, is the final play of the Royal Lyceum’s 2013-14 season, and what a truly memorable finale it is.

For those who don’t know, Pressure is the story of Dr. James Stagg, a plumber’s son from Dalkeith who is selected to predict the weather needed for safe and successful D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches in 1944. He is counterpointed by the effervescent and ‘lucky’ American expert, Colonel Krick.

The central tensions of this spell-binding true story are many. There’s the ongoing World War. There’s the fact the top man is American so why would he, Eisenhower, listen to British reserve and cold science before the ‘luck’ and previous unblemished record of a fellow American. There’s the nearly unstoppable momentum of the arrangements already in place. There’s a woman in the background with a medical history who’s already in early labour.

The 11 strong cast didn’t put a foot wrong and the driving central performances from David Haig as Stagg, Laura Rogers as Kay Summersby and Malcolm Sinclair as General Eisenhower were five-star. No tricks, no flashing lights, nothing but the stripped back truth of how you get the job done when the job is monumental.

Haig’s script is full of delightful snippets and you wonder if he unearthed them in his research. I won’t spoil it by giving examples, but the audience shared several warm laughs when the foibles of their heroes came under scrutiny.

Pressure has a great set by Colin Richmond made in the Royal Lyceum’s workshops.

I really recommend.

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