London has a lot of theatres. Generally, that's where you go to see plays. Sometimes though, a production runs away from the theatre, gets lost, and ends up somewhere a little different. These site-specific works are all about using a venue that adds to the telling of the story, and blurring the lines between audience and players. When it works well, we love it.
The latest play to get the "It's playing WHERE?" treatment is Hugh Whitemore's "Breaking the Code" which has been relocated to the Kew Bridge Steam Museum next week. The play follows mathematician, computer scientist and convicted homosexual Alan Turing as he worked during the war to solve the riddle of the Enigma machine. The Derek Jacobi led production of the '80s ran in the West End and on Broadway, and the 1996 BBC version was nominated for several awards. With Gordon Brown's recent apology for how Turing was treated after the war, it's a timely return for the work.
We haven't been let in on the site-specific-secret of the production, but have been told the audience "won't know quite what to expect" and will be encouraged to explore among the engines before the show and during the interval. We'll be reporting back once we've had a chance to see it, but promise not to ruin any surprises.
Breaking the Code is playing at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum (map) for 6 nights only: Nov 3, 4, 5, 6 (includes Q&A session with director and cast after the show), 10, and 11. Tickets are £10 via ticketweb.