45 Minutes

The play is set in 2003. It opens to the sound of gunfire and the voices of Chamberlain, Churchill and Thatcher, invoking the Second World War and the Falklands War. We then hear a radio announcement that Saddam Hussein has launched weapons of mass destruction against Britain and in 45 minutes everyone will die. This play shows how one family spends its last moments.

The family appears to be slightly dysfunctional, with a father who is remote from his two sons and appears to despise his brother, who is staying with them. His first impulse is to leave his family and go to his office, where he thinks he might be able to help. It is later revealed that he was a conservative MP who lost his seat in 1997 and has been feeling lost ever since, particularly since the death of his wife. His brother, Uncle Bob, is also feeling abandoned after his wife left him. The family is joined by a somewhat eccentric neighbour, who lives by himself next door and wants to spend his last few minutes with them.

Ultimately, the five unite and stay together until the end, which is handled brilliantly. Nothing much actually happens during their last 45 minutes, but perhaps that’s what it would be like.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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The Blurb

WARNING! The clock is ticking. Iraq has launched its WMD ... and you have 45 minutes left to live. So, what would you do? The poignant final 45 minutes of one dysfunctional family - and their neighbour.

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