Review: Three Days In May, Cambridge Arts Theatre

It’s May 1940 and Britain is fighting for its life.

The Nazi war machine is carving up Europe as state after state collapses under the might of German military prowess. The British expeditionary force is in retreat. The outlook is bleak. And on May 26 the French premier, Paul Reynaud, flies to London to inform Churchill that France is about to fall.

In Number 10 Downing Street, the future of the free world rests on the decisions of the five men of Churchill’s war cabinet.

A political thriller that studies one of the defining moments of British history, Three Days In May brings to life the dilemma Britain faced - to fight on or to sue for peace.

A quality piece of theatre, Warren Clarke is superb as the determined Winston and Jeremy Clyde spot on as the erudite and exasperated Halifax. Robert Demeger provides with skill a troubled and anxious Neville Chamberlain.

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Thought provoking, serious and even moving, this play, directed by Alan Strachan, is a stimulating study of the nature of politics as well as an incisive account of the conversations held at the very heart of Churchill’s newly formed government.

Staged with impressive attention to detail, Three Days In May offers a depiction of those moments to which the freedom of the western world can directly be traced.

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Three Days In May runs at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until September 10.

James Marston

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