#AceBookNews – Aug.06: An expert cast and dynamic direction lend momentum to this pointed Whitehall drama about the fallout of a missile strike
The latest collaboration between writer Jack Thorne and director Tom Harper (The Scouting Book for Boys) very smartly updates Fail Safe from 1964. A group of Whitehall mandarins gather under no-nonsense Sophie Okonedo to role play the national security consequences of a Pakistani nuclear strike on India; inevitably, what begins as a jolly lunchtime skive soon turns deadly serious.
Theatricality looms, but the variation of voices and viewpoints among the expert cast generates a rat-a-tat momentum: Thorne crafts rhetorical flourishes for veteran Antony Sher, agonised lefty Shaun Evans and a shellshocked Kerry Fox. Harper’s framing is always dynamic, and often pointed: each glimpse of life passing blithely by this room’s only window provides a sobering reminder of the extent to which we’re at the mercy of those who would govern us.
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