"Some of use were born to be spies/ Taking easily to the shadow dance/ The ad hoc loyalties and the brutal romance/ Well versed in weaponry, wireless transmission/ Balkan intrigues and the needs of women./ Some of us were born to be spies;/ Not me though, I sort of fell into it by chance."
So begins Improbable Frequency, Rough Magic's sparkling musical satire on neutral Ireland in 1941, in which a young code-breaker has been lured to Dublin. A trail of bizarre clues is woven into the plot. They lead our hero, Tristram Faraday, to surreal meetings with John Betjeman, Nazi sympathisers, nuclear scientists and "an English rose in exploding clothes". These encounters slightly fox Faraday, a "hotshot cruciverbalist", for whom "a month on the edge is chaos (six letters): mayhem".
And that is nearly what this descends into. Wittily directed by Lynne Parker, with an excellent cast, the show becomes a little too convoluted and drawn out.
But (apologies to Arthur O'Riordan, whose brilliant dialogue is deftly written in verse): "Some of us were born to be critics/ Taking easily to darkened spaces/ The ad hoc star system and the brutal review/ Well versed in the arts, filing copy/ Theatrical intrigues, and the whims of directors./ Some of us were born to be critics;/ Not me though, I sort of fell into it by chance."
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