Tense Frayn drama won’t be a Bohr as Hitchin’s Bancroft Players stage challenging production

Rehearsals for the Bancroft Players production of Michael Frayn's Copenhagen at the Queen Mother The

Rehearsals for the Bancroft Players production of Michael Frayn's Copenhagen at the Queen Mother Theatre featuring Edith Pratt, Keith Swainston and Peter Mathhews - Credit: Archant

Michael Frayn’s peerless farce was a big box office hit in September for Hitchin’s Queen Mother Theatre – but when another of the author’s works takes to the Walsworth Road stage next week there won’t be nearly as many laughs on offer.

Rehearsals for the Bancroft Players production of Michael Frayn's Copenhagen at the Queen Mother The

Rehearsals for the Bancroft Players production of Michael Frayn's Copenhagen at the Queen Mother Theatre featuring Edith Pratt, Keith Swainston and Peter Mathhews - Credit: Archant

Copenhagen, which opens on Monday night and runs until Saturday, is a tense human drama rooted in modern history.

It’s 1941 and German physicist Werner Heisenberg has undertaken an urgent and precarious journey to Nazi-occupied Copenhagen to meet his former mentor, colleague and friend Niels Bohr.

The two men, both Nobel Prize winners, are leaders in the field of theoretical physics, both with the capability and genius to unlock the conundrum of atomic energy – and the weapons that would follow.

They found themselves on opposite sides, but what happened when they met?


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For years historians and scientists have tried to untangle the mystery and in Frayn’s garlanded play the two men, along with Bohr’s wife Margrethe, gather together in a limbo outside time where all three attempt to redraft the events of 1941.

They soon realise there is more than one side to every story and that time, emotion and flawed and fickle memories tend to blur the line between fact and fiction.

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Director Stewart Thomas said: “The nature of the debate in Copenhagen is partly scientific, partly about the morality of atomic weaponry, but in the main it’s a play about human beings.

“It explores the uncertainty of human behaviour and is similar to Heisenberg’s principle, where he suggests we can never completely know the behavior of a particle and can also never completely know the motivations and intentions of other humans.”

Visit www.qmt.org.uk to book £8 tickets.

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