Pressure Is The Drama About The English Weather You Didn't Know You Needed

Pressure, Ambassadors Theatre ★★★★☆

By Johnny Fox Last edited 6 months ago

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Pressure Is The Drama About The English Weather You Didn't Know You Needed Pressure, Ambassadors Theatre 4
Photo: Robert Day

The word ‘boffin’ might have been invented to describe David Haig’s unsmiling Scotsman character in the wartime nail-biter ‘Pressure’.  James Stagg was an early pioneer of long-range weather forecasting and advised on the timing of the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944.  Sidelined in films like Churchill and The Longest Day, Haig’s own play puts him centre stage in an engrossing and finely observed study.

Photo: Robert Day

That makes it all seem a bit dry, but it isn’t: there are lots of laughs, and the play is much enlivened by Malcolm Sinclair’s bullish and bombastic General Eisenhower, casually involved with his army driver Kay, whose tireless loyalty and school-of-Celia-Johnson Englishness are perfectly realised by Laura Rogers.

Photo: Robert Day

You might already know the history, and you might never have thought you could be gripped by a drama about the English weather, but we guarantee you’ll be closely following the path of the Atlantic storms and impatient for the arrival of the next giant map.

Photo: Robert Day

Stagg maintains a distrustful rivalry with a brash young American colonel whose forecasting credentials included telling David O Selznick when to shoot the burning of Atlanta in ‘Gone With The Wind’ and the complex meteorological arguments are snapped back and forth with vigour by all concerned.

A completely believable story, done with impeccable detail.

Pressure, Ambassadors Theatre, West Street, WC2. Tickets £15-75, until 1 September 2018.

Last Updated 20 June 2018