Enigma, a new musical presented by Enigma Theatre UK is an exciting piece of historical musical theatre telling the story of a unit of female code breakers in America during World War II.
Based on an original and exciting premise
The production shows us the inner workings of the unit; the women’s successful contributions to the war effort, and a little bit of each of these astonishing women’s stories. It's based on an original and exciting premise, but they script and music needs further development. It seems just as we get to know these women and their stories, our time with them is cut short. It's the genesis of a great idea that needs more time to develop and evolve.
There is a compelling opening; each woman being interviewed for their position. And then a haunting ending; the women being unceremoniously dismissed when they are no longer needed, but the script just needs to expand and explore more of what happens in the middle. There are these simple connected moments when each woman shares a letter they have sent or received during the course of the story. These moments could use expansion and I questioned why they were not turned into songs.
The ensemble songs are very well written and performed, but I found myself wanting more musical pieces. Rebekah Petrie, as Nelly Thornton, an actress turned codebreaker, has the strongest voice and Elizabeth Makin, as Ann Colby, also excels as a comedic member of the cast.
This production benefits greatly from the ingenious use of chalkboards to show the code breaking in action and the excellent period costumes add a level of realism that draws the audience into its world. This show has incredible potential and should continue its development beyond the Fringe.