Review: Unseen Enemy uncovers Cold War history in Suffolk

Cast of Unseen Enemy Picture: GILL ATACOCUGU

Cast of Unseen Enemy Picture: GILL ATACOCUGU

Review of Unseen Enemy: Radar and The Cold War by Suzanne Hawkes

Delving deep into the history of the Cold War and its impact on Suffolk, Unseen Enemy is a though provoking play that looks closely at the nuclear threat.

Weaving together local stories and personalities with national and international events and political leaders, Unseen Enemy delivers a history of the nuclear age and the Cold War through the prism of Suffolk life. Set between the early 1950s and early 1960s the play is concerned with a small rural community as Suffolk became the front line as the nuclear age dawned. Focusing on the mysterious activity on Orfordness – weapons testing as it later became clear - and Bawdsey – the home of radar – the play masterfully highlights how day to day Suffolk life was affected and influenced by the Cold War.

The acting is strong throughout, the humour well placed and the dialogue and story crafted to explain the jargon and assess the influence of the nuclear threat on day to day life.

The play, which is best described as a mixture between story, fact, faction and education, also offers up a philosophical critique on the concept of war and nuclear weapons in particular.

A protest song soundtrack and some decent theatrical and lighting effects provide a stark reminder of how Suffolk was once the bull’s-eye of the Soviet arsenal and how we were all minutes away from total destruction if someone had pressed the button.

A clever and enjoyable dramatic interpretation of one of the darkest and most fascinating periods in the history of Suffolk.

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