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Nuclear reaction splits cottage domesticity

The Children, Criterion Theatre, Coventry 26 January to 2 February.

Armageddon is the backdrop for the latest play to reach the Criterion stage, which was premiered in London just two years ago and won a major theatre award last year.

Retired nuclear scientists Hazel and Robin live quietly in their cottage on the coast, trying to keep some semblance of normality in their lives in the wake of a terrifying disaster at a nearby nuclear plant. Turmoil of a different sort enters this carefully preserved cocoon when Rose, a fellow scientist they last saw nearly 40 years ago, turns up out of the blue. Is she trying to re-ignite the affair she had with Robin many years ago or is there some other, darker purpose behind her visit?

Lucy Kirkwood's play explores, with a humorous touch as well as serious intent, the personal dilemmas faced by its three characters but also the universal issues of nuclear power safety and man-made climate change in a world still coming to terms with accidents like the Fukushima power plant disaster eight years ago. It's topical for us in Britain too, as the government recently announced that it needs to upgrade or build new nuclear power stations to cover the country's energy requirements.

For the Criterion, Brian Emeney plays Robin, Christine Ingall is Hazel and Annie Gay is Rose in a play that has an intriguing connection with the theatre itself. The Royal Court production which won Best Play in the 2018 Writers' Guild Awards featured Coventry-born actor, and Criterion patron, Ron Cook as Robin.

Tickets from the 24 hour voicemail system on 024 7667 4719 or at

Pictured above, left to right: Annie Gay as Rose, Brian Emeney as Robin and Christine Ingall as Hazel.

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