Pressure that is packed with atmosphere

Pressure at the Chichester Festival Minerva Studio by David Haig.

Monday, 9th June 2014, 9:21 am
David Haig  Group Captain Dr James Stagg and Tim Beckmann  Colonel Irving P. Krick   Picture : Drew Farrell Tel : 07721 -735041
David Haig  Group Captain Dr James Stagg and Tim Beckmann  Colonel Irving P. Krick Picture : Drew Farrell Tel : 07721 -735041

It’s said that of all the subjects the British love to discuss nothing tops the weather.

So it was inevitable that a play would be written that discussed nothing else.

But Pressure is not merely an analysis of the public’s favourite subject.

It explores the most important weather forecast ever.

As the Allied forces prepared for the critical invasion force of the second world war in June 1944, there was one element they struggled to predict.

It was the elements.

Bad weather would have spelt disaster for the D-Day landings in Normandy.

The climatic conditions had to be just right.

The Americans had their own infallible weather boffin who said June 5 would be perfect.

But Group Captain Dr James Stagg (David Haig) a dour Scot of stereotypical proportions feared the conditions would prove disastrous.

General Dwight D ‘Ike’ Eisenhower (Malcolm Sinclair) had to choose between the two conflicting predictions - knowing that a wrong call could cost both thousands of lives and the war itself.

This new play written by Haig captures perfectly that sense of Pressure - both barometrically and psychologically.

It is packed with atmosphere.

As the play unfolds we are given glimpses into the pressured lives of the main players in this real-life drama.

As part of the theatre’s Hidden Histories season, the timing of this premiere - to coincide with the 70th anniversary of D-Day - could not be better.

Nor could the script.

This production is a masterpiece - with the added dimension of being rooted in local settings.

Haig gives his best performance yet at Chichester - we have seen him twice before in the past few years - but don’t underestimate the clipped perfection of Laura Rogers as Kay Summersby.

This is a play about the weather.

But it is so much more.

It explores the most important moment in 20th century British history; and it does it with such supreme accomplishment it is nothing short of brilliant.