Farm Hall by Katherine Moar. Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London W1 to 8 April 2023. 4****. William Russell.

For seven months in the summer of 1945 six German nuclear scientists were held by the British in Farm Hall in Cambridgeshire and their conversations were secretly recorded – they had been leading members of the Uranium club who were involved in the German nuclear weapons programme. Their conversations, which were subsequently published in 1992 and form the basis for this fascinating drama as they discuss what they had done, wonder whether they will survive, what plans the British have for them and question what happens to scientific discoveries once it passes into the hands of the leaders of nations. The news which ends their days of playing games, rebuilding a broken down piano and getting on one another’s nerves is that the Americans had managed to make a bomb which has been dropped on Hiroshima. It is a play consisting of fragments of conversation, people come and go, actions are repeated, people fall out and the unapolgetic Bagge, a one time Nazi (Archie Backhouse) presides over it all while Hahn (Forbes Masson), who discovered nuclear fission grapples with guilt over how his discovery has been used to slaughter thousands of people, Heisenberg (Alan Cox) reveals he may just have not managed to pass everything on to his masters which could have solved the problems of making the bomb and Von Lau (David Yelland), who did object to the Nazi regime, reveals that somehow he did nothing about it. The play does question the whole issue of how scientists deal with their discoveries and keeps one wondering as far as the six are concerned whether when the leave, if ever, they will go to America, be sent back to Germany or be killed. It could have been a muddle of fragmented talk but writer and director aided by a really good cast have joined it all together perfectly.

Bagge: Archie Backhouse.

Weizsacker: Daniel Boyd.

Heisenberg: Alan Cox.

Diebner: Julius D’Silva.

Hahn: Forbes Masson.

Von Laue: David Yelland.

Director: Stephen Unwin.

Set & Costume Designer: Ceci Calf.

Lighting Designer: Ben Ormerod.

Sound Designer: John Leonard.

Production photographs: Alex Brenner.

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