Flyer for the Universal Machine, a musical showcasing Alan Turing's life (via New Diorama Theatre)
It’s not everyday that you have the chance to catch a musical on one of the most influential and original minds to have blessed human history. Alan Turing, the great mathematician, cryptanalyst, logician, and founding computer scientist of the mid 1900s gets to see the spotlight with The Universal Machine - a musical rendition of his life’s story performed by the Pit theatre company.
Although these types of performances can be either a hit or miss, the Turing musical does a spectacular job at captivating an audience with its sometimes comical and subsequently unfolding drama that was the life of Alan Turing. The cast includes Richard Delaney as Alan and Judith Paris portraying his mother.
As a quick summary of the intellectual’s life: Alan Turing spent many of his earlier years deciphering German code cryptanalysis during World War II. He soon after go on to work at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, designing the first stored-program computer and later assisting in the development of the Manchester computers at Manchester University. Much of his foundational work in the field of computer scientists came by way of his Turing machine - what many consider the model for all future computers, incorporating new concepts (at the times) such as the algorithm. Shortly after his interest moved into the field of mathematical biology, Turing was dealt a court ordered chemical castration for his admittance of homosexual acts. In 1954, Turing was found dead due to cyanide poisoning - officially determined as an act of suicide, though close relatives believed otherwise.
(Center) Richard Delaney as Alan Turing (via New Diorama Theatre & Richard Davenport) (Right) A portrate of the real Alan Turing. The stage actor looks pretty similar... (via SPB & BBC)
There is definite interest in seeing the complex mind of Turing at work, even if it is by way of a musical rendition. The show is already a success. Ultimately, The Universal Machine attempts to make a case that Turing’s interest in thinking machines was due to his beliefs of himself as a “halfway house between a man and a machine.”
If you’re in London, make sure to check it out for yourself. The Universal Machine will be at the London New Diorama Theatre from now ‘til May 11th.
See more news at: