Do we now have the same faith in the state as the couple, who believe Meals on Wheels will rescue them? Mills says: "People know more now. In the Eighties, people were told something by the Government and actually believed it."
For Mills, who read the cartoon as a child, the hardest aspect of his character has been to appreciate Jim's sense of history: "As a character, Jim bases his faith in everything on his experience of the Second World War, and my generation just don't have those memories."
The transfer of Briggs' illustrations to the stage is also fraught with difficulties. This is not least because much of the pathos comes from the couple's stoically cheerful dialogue, contrasted by Briggs' nauseous colour palette.
The staging, by Green Light, will instead attempt to unsettle the audience through realism that is both shocking and funny. When the Bloggs start nailing floorboards over their windows (having carefully washed the curtains), as Mills says: "You get the realisation that, my God, if this had actually happened, people would have done this."
This very human sense of unease is carried through to the shocking ending, with the couple on the brink of death from nuclear radiation. "The image of two adult people lying in potato sacks is very disturbing, and we didn't want to stand up and take a curtain call at the end. We didn't want the audience to think everything was going to be all right. Because it wasn't. And it's not."
(0131-226 7207), 5 to 28 August (not 9, 16, 23)
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