Crypted

Centre-stage, there is a chalkboard. In walks an actress in a shirt, tie, blazer, and on the board writes ‘I Am Lying’. She lectures the audience on this ‘Liar’s Paradox’, explaining that if one was to announce this, they would be telling the truth, which would in turn mean that they are actually lying, which would in turn mean that they were telling the truth. She then poses a question of numbers: does the figure ‘1’ written on its own have any meaning or value, or is it just a series of lines? She then applies it to people: are people really people if their minds are not fully there? And so begins our play.

Harriet Green plays Alan Turing, the father of computer science and codebreaker of the German ciphers in World War II who saved hundreds of lives. The play consists of moments from the whole course his life. It recounts his most important relationships; scientific discoveries; homosexuality; chemical castration; and his death/suspected suicide.

Green was simply dazzling. Her awkward and jerky movements, and tendency to nervously blurt out his sentences in an almost Tourette-like manner captured his character perfectly as a lonely, somewhat difficult genius of a man. I pondered long and hard on why a woman had been cast as Turing. I could only conclude that the reason simply was: she was damn good.

The script was an absolute gem. Every scene was just as poignant as the next. Countless phrases that paralleled life and science left you simply mesmerized. My only quibble with the script was that it contained too many scenes, some of which were much too short and were cut off quite suddenly. The very end of the play - a flashback to a moment between Turing and his first love, Chris Morcom - seemed somewhat random. Other than that, it was perfect.

The show is a rich exploration of Turing’s tragic life and battle between lies and honesty, which left him quite alone. Since this year is his 100th birthday, and he did so much that benefits us today, it seems only right that everyone should see Crypted!

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The Blurb

Interactive tragedy based on the life of Alan Turing, the Bletchley Park codebreaker chemically castrated by the government. Part of Negative Capability's double-bill by RSC prizewinner Freddy Syborn, co-writer of forthcoming BBC3 sitcom, Bad Education. 'A triumph' (Scotsman). www.freddysyborn.com.

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