BWW Review: PARDON ME, ALAN TURING at Samoa House Auckland

BWW Review: PARDON ME, ALAN TURING at Samoa House Auckland

Reviewed by Reg Michaels for Monica Moore

Alan Turing. Oscar Wilde. Arguably two of history's most infamous men. A computer scientist, and a writer. Both gay.

Both prosecuted and convicted for being so. And both just two names drowning in a flood of thousands who were subjected to conviction under the same law. Alan Turing was pardoned posthumously. But what about Wilde? What about the others?

This play, although it does not answer those questions, allows us to listen in on various conversations surrounding this matter and provokes us to ponder over the subject in our minds. The play sparks important deliberations surrounding LGBT rights

Everything about this show speaks of an utter dedication to the content of the play. Set and costume is kept very simple yet appropriate of each time period (there are three), therefore allowing us to really hone in on what is being discussed. The soundtrack that murmurs gently in the background compliments the scenes as does the sparse lighting. It is admirable just how minimal and fluid everything is. The story swells along marvellously, ebbing and flowing, with every change in time and place seamlessly happening. The direction is very smooth, the beats land exactly where they should. A hole in one you could say.

Director Patrick Graham obviously has a talented eye for casting as each of the five actors do a superb job in their respective roles. Joesph Wycoff presents Turing as being socially awkward and his shift to Turing as a young boy and his relationship with his mother who expects him to conform to society some of us will find very relatable. Geoff Allan makes Wilde very entertaining indeed however he manages to craft his levels expertly and at points we see him in the depths of despair and very vulnerable and this stark contrast gives us a startling glimpse into the world he inhabits. David Capstick does a fine job as Daniel, bearing silent watch to the goings on and happenings in the play. Capstick has a beautiful tender moment of absolute vulnerability and truth with his wife (Jacqui Whall) that is utterly moving. Whall herself is kept busy with her numerous characters, her 'rich bitch' Mrs Turing is very funny yet so very frustrating (and rightly so, one wants to yell at her to just let her son be the man he really is). And Andrew Parker, oh his Bosie is delightfully optimistic with his determination to defy what society expects! He almost succeeds in sneakily stealing his scenes, but director Graham ensures that the scales do not tip too far in that direction, and as a result, this wonderful portrayal only enhances the play and draws our attention to the ongoing thoughts and discussions.

Playwright Stephen Lunt should be proud. We are drawn in right from opening line and taken on a journey that entertains and forces us to think about the harsh reality that these men and thousands of others had to endure.

Comedy is a powerful tool, people will listen more if they are entertained and one can address significant issues through this medium. This play manages to find the right balance. The humour seduces you, then the themes confront you.

Pardon me Alan Turing is an important piece of theatre and has the legs to go a lot further than its Auckland or Wellington season. The story needs to be told on a international stage.

Alan Turing


14th to 17th of February, Samoa House, Auckland.


1st to the 4th of March, Bats Theatre Wellington.

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From This Author Monica Moore

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