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Operation Epsilon | Southwark Playhouse Elephant

As someone who went into this show not knowing anything about this war time story, I came away with a heavy heart, smiling and feeling like I had learned something new. Which is what you want from theatre right?

When I sat down in my seat, I immediately noticed the immersive set of a two story classic 1940’s British house. With each room designed immaculately by Janie E Howland, the set allowed me to feel immersed straight into the play and I felt truly a part of the action unfolding on stage. The set design also allowed for a good view of the show from any seat in the theatre, which is always a huge bonus!

Operation Epsilon explores many heavy topics that were relevant to the time of World War Two and from the offset, we quickly realise that these characters are deprived from many of the essentials that we as individuals today take for granted. This allowed the audience to sympathise for the characters on stage and allowed us to feel part of their story. Andy Sandberg’s direction of the show and the incredible actors helped to balance the chemistry between the characters, as well as making sure that each space of the set was used to its full potential.

Unfortunately, the character introductions as a key part of the show felt extremely rushed to me. It felt as if the audience were given a huge amount of important information about each individual all at once and this became slightly overwhelming. Whilst this is usually fine in another play as you learn more about the characters throughout the story, Operation Epsilon did not seem to bring each character to light. Whilst I understand that this is a short play with limited time to explore all of the character arcs and themes, I felt that each character within Operation Epsilon had a significant role within the plot and there were still many unanswered questions as the show concluded.

A standout performance goes to Nicholas Armfield for his performance as Horst Korsching. His comedic timing was impeccable for his character and he did a great job in lifting the atmosphere in the midst of a dark and serious play. He was able to bring a spark of hope to the serious affairs occurring for the characters, with his sarcastic tone valuing that these scientists hadn’t lost everything to the war, “especially not one liners.

Overall I do believe that whilst the plot may follow a more serious nature, there is a good mixture of incredible talent and lighthearted humour to make an entertaining production. This is a show definitely worth seeing if you want to see a different side to the aftermath of the war and how it had affected these individuals. Operation Epsilon runs at Southwark Playhouse Elephant until 21st October. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Pamela Raith


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