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March 16, 2016

Breaking The Code

The work of the Bletchley Codebreakers has been well documented in recent years, particularly the 2014 movie “The Imitation Game”, in which Benedict Cumberbatch brought the life and work of Alan Turing so vividly to life.

The stage play, written by High Whitemore, focuses attention on the more personal details of Turing’s life, as he comes to the attention of the authorities for being a homosexual while developing a digital computer at Manchester University in the mid 50’s.

The play requires special acting talent in order to successfully pull off the many poignant and emotive moments - and in this production we had it in spades! Very simply, Jude Kerswill as Alan was outstanding. He became Turing in every way possible, and gripped the hall. A real collectors item of a performance, and everyone who saw him will remember that performance for a long time. It was lovely to see so many family members playing opposite each other, and Paul Kerswill did a masterful job of portraying Detective Ross, the man who relentlessly pursued Turing for the ‘crime’ of having sexual relations with a man. Dillwyn Knox, Alan’s boss at Bletchley was a real eccentric, and a fine codebreaker in his own right. Michael Tackley was perfectly cast as the sometimes bumbling often razor sharp Knox. He did a terrific job – struggling to get his head round Turing’s work on the one hand, then acting as mentor and ‘defender’ on the other.

It was moving to see Janet Tackley wrestling with her obvious disgust at Alan’s behaviour, while trying to show some kind of maternal instinct. In one moment she is pouring scorn – ‘your father would be so ashamed’, in the next she is asking  ‘What can I do to help’. A brilliant scene and great performance.

It was Turing’s relationship with Ron Miller, played effortlessly by Mark Savage that ultimately led to his trial and conviction for gross indecency. The tense stand off between Miller and Turing over the stolen cash was a particular highlight.

It was great to see Rosie Eccles in this play, and she delivered a particularly impressive and memorable performance as Turing’s colleague at Bletchley – Pat Green. Their picnic scene was charming, and you could have heard a pin drop in the hall as she shed tears at the prospect of an unrequited love for him.

In amongst the poignancy was some real laugh out loud moments. Joe Emler as Alan’s school friend ‘Christopher Morcom’, a brilliant mind in his own right, acted out a great scene in the first act, and delivered a great line about his mum’s goat farm. Dimos Mouskovias was great as Alan’s holiday romance, finally getting his radio fixed, (it was all Greek to me!) and Dennis Sexton was wonderful as the snide and condescending ‘man from the Ministry’.

Behind the scenes, credit of course should go to Director Mark Sadler, Producer Stella Turner and Loretta Concannon. The technical team of Stuart Clark, Peter Johnson, Clive Griffin and Stage Manager Trevor Clark.

Take a bow everyone involved in this production. It really was a fantastic show that will live long in the memory of those who saw it, and really does go to underline once again the sheer breadth of talent we have in our village. [Review by: Susan Dennhim]

Director - Mark Sadler

Producer - Stella Turner 

Lighting - Stuart Clark 


Alan Turing - Jude Kerswill 

Mick Ross – Paul Kerswill

Christopher Morcom – Joe Emler

Ron Miller – Mark Savage

John Smith – Dennis Sexton

Dillwyn Knox – Michael Tackley 

Nikos – Dimos Mouskovias

Sara Turing – Janet Tackley

Pat Green – Rosie Eccles


Director - Mark Sadler
Producer - Stella Turner
Assistant Director and Prompt - Loretta Concannon
Stage Manager - Trevor Clark
Set - Graham Gibbs
Props - Lucinda Rowe
Wardrobe - Valmai Guess
Lighting - Stuart Clark
Sound - Peter Johnson
Video - Clive Griffn
Hair - Victoria Turner
Artwork and Design - Roger Burton
Publicity - Peter Donovan
Box Offce - Stella Turner
Bar - Ed Picken
Front of House - Val Bryant, Sophie Davies, Alison Gibbs, Margaret Johnson, Paul Ribbans, Maxine Shearer & Susie Welch
Website - Dave Woodward
Special Thanks - The Motte & Bailey, The Fox, The Barn Theatre, St Mary’s Church, Harlequin, Hire, Peter Johnson & Pirton Village Shop

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