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Copenhagen tackles epic atomic issues

Dec 21 2009
Hap Erstein | Palm Beach Post

Long before Copenhagen became synonymous with a climate change accord, it was the site of a brief, mysterious meeting between two nuclear physicists, a meeting that may have changed the course of World War II... ...In short, it is the kind of theatrical challenge that only Palm Beach Dramaworks would take on, rewarding audiences willing to lean in and listen hard... ...What makes the experience compelling are the three verbally adept performers. Colin McPhillamy (Bohr), a dead ringer for Tom Wilkinson, is understated and parental compared with excitable, impassioned Heisenberg, played by Christopher Oden. Challenging them to clarify their thinking is the wily Elizabeth Dimon as Margrethe, a skeptical inquisitor. Remarkably, director J. Barry Lewis manages to keep this talkathon from being static, moving his cast like chess pieces about the stage with an unforced hand. And if you look for it, their movements resemble the charged particles of an atom. While there is a similar puzzle construction in Frayn’s most popular work, the farce Noises Off!, Copenhagen is hardly escapist entertainment. But if you are up for an accelerator chamber’s worth of high-speed ideas, by all means head to Palm Beach Dramaworks.