HERE is an intriguing scenario, what if Winston Churchill thought about giving into the Germans during the Second World War.
Three Days in May is an examination of this proposition. Telling the story of war cabinet meetings in 1940 when it considered the unimaginable prospect to us with hindsight.
Much of the conflict in this show comes between Churchill and foreign secretary Lord Halifax, with the former looking to carry the conflict against the irrepressible German force and the latter wanting to appease Hitler and bring about peace.
And while this tension comes across really well, you feel that Three Days in May misses a trick by telling the story entirely from Churchill’s perspective. The far more interesting tale is Neville Chamberlain’s journey from zero to hero, initially siding with Lord Halifax but then going from zero to hero by backing his successor’s desire to go to war.
But there are some really strong performances in this show. TV favourite Warren Clarke plays Churchill with bulldog grit, I closed my eyes at one point and swore blind to myself that I was listening to a recording of his speeches.
Jeremy Clyde’s gives Lord Halifax a nice line in integrity which makes for a more rounded character than was shown in the script.
There is an interesting line right at the end of the show from Churchill where he says history will be kind to him as he intends to write it. That note sums up this play as this was all about the most iconic of political figures and Clarke’s return to the stage for the first time in a decade is the best reason for seeing this show.
Three Days in May will be performed at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday. Call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.com/milton-keynes-theatre to book tickets.
Review by Steve Mills.