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REVIEW - Alan Turing: A Musical Biography, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023

Updated: Jun 2

Alan Turing: A Musical Biography review

Alan Turing: A Musical Biography

Paradise in Augustines (Paradise Green)

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

August 2023


Alan Turing: A Musical Biography is a new musical theatre productions composed by Joel Goodman and Jan Osborne. It asks the asks the audience "What does the name 'Alan Turing' mean to you?" and then proceeds to take us on a journey through his extraordinary life. From his fascination with Snow White's poisoned apple as a young child, through his years at Cambridge and Princeton Universities, and at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park.

Narrated by the fictitious author of his biography it may be, but Alan’s dialogue is taken directly from historical letters that he wrote to friends, colleagues and his mother. In his own words we come to understand the importance of the loss of his closest friend, his determination to win World War II, as well as his very personal struggle with society’s unjust view of homosexuality.

'Alan Turing - A musical biography' is a fitting tribute to a man who is said to have saved approximately 14 million lives, and who was then was condemned as a criminal for his sexuality. In fact, this remarkable new musical by Early Morning Productions is produced, directed and performed perfectly. It's simply stunning.

Joe Bishop as Alan Turing in Alan Turing: A Musical Biography. Photo credit: Douglas Armour

The lighting by Rob Dyer is gorgeous and really helps add impact to the piece. Every scene could be photo print, and the use of colour was both surprising and a welcome contrast against Alan's sombre, functional, wardrobe. I particularly loved the lighting during 'Man and Machine' but it was a highlight for me all the way through.

The book is exemplary. The thread with the apple is done superbly, and I loved learning about Alan's achievements, and the way his mind worked. Obviously a mathematical genius, his way with words was so special too. "I'm an odd number in an even world" is profound and deeply impactful. The songs are fantastic and work well to progress the plot; many again making use of Alan's own words and phrases.

The actors are wonderful. Zara Cooke brings out the emotion in biographer Andrea, and all of the parts she plays including the wise and kind, equally as genius, Joan. Joe Bishop gives an astonishing performance as Turing himself, playing him with care, humour and heart. He absolutely broke my heart! I may never recover. And how he managed to run, act and sing during "Run, Think, Read, Think" is mind-blowing.

'Alan Turing - A musical biography' is the complete package. I can't fault it; I loved every second.

Go see it. It's gorgeous.


When and Where?

Running Time: 1 Hour 5 minutes

Dates: Aug 5, 7-12, 14-19

Time: 10:50 am

Ticket prices: £12 Concession £10

Venue: Paradise in Augustines – The Sanctuary

📸 Photo credit: Douglas Armour


Alan Turing: A Musical Biography Cast & Credits

Joel Goodman - Composer/Producer/Reluctant Understudy

Jan Osborne - Musical Director/Assistant Composer

Joan Greening - Playwright

Jane Miles - Director

Rob Dyer - Lighting Design


Alan Turing played by Joe Bishop

Andrea and multiple roles played by Zara Cooke


Alan Turing: A Musical Biography by Early Morning Productions - review, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023

🎟️ Disclosure: I am an Edinburgh Festival Fringe accredited media reviewer and as such I receive complimentary press tickets in exchange for my honest reviews. I was invited to review this show by Producer Joel Goodman. Thank you Joel. My reviews and star ratings are always my honest opinions.

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💗 Follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram

Lisa in the theatre, theater, reviews, blog, Scotland, Scottish


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