From Publishers Weekly
While Frayn's play Copenhagen won three Tony awards in 2000 (including best play), and the London playwright has Noises Off and the Booker Prize finalist Headlong to his credit, he doesn't enjoy the same name recognition here as does, say, a native like David Mamet. Interest in this Copenhagen spinoff project may thus depend on readers' willingness to delve into the arcana of physics and history, and into the working lives of the playwright and of Burke, a leading player in the London run of Copenhagen. The play itself concerns a mysterious 1941 meeting in the Nazi-occupied Danish capital between Werner Heisenberg, head of the covert Nazi nuclear program, and Niels Bohr (played by Burke), his former mentor. After the war, Heisenberg was interned by the British for six months at an estate called Farm Hall so the Allies might learn how far the German program had gotten events also covered in the play. This book concerns a mysterious package Frayn received during the play's London run, from "Celia Rhys-Evans," saying that she had seen the play, and that during a stay at Farm Hall in the '60s she had found some papers written in German that must be relevant. The crumpled papers appeared to make a joke about Ping-Pong and uranium 235. In true British style, it turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by Burke, revealed by a third person just as Frayn was about to go to the papers. Still with us? Most American readers won't be, though as Frayn and Burke trade chapters and it becomes clear who knew what when, there are plenty of verbal and intellectual pleasures to be had.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This series of monologs in two acts is a collaboration between Frayn, the celebrated British author and playwright, and Burke, an actor in Frayn's Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen. This comic and intriguing drama grew out of Burke's skillful hoax about a mysterious package of manuscripts found at Farm Hill near London, where German nuclear physicists were interned after World War II. Because of his intense curiosity and the possible historic relevance of these incomprehensible German and Russian documents to his play, Frayn became the target of Burke's tricks. The plot thickens as more people become involved in the prankster's deception and the victim's search for truth. Finally, a conscientious second actor of the original cast exposes Burke's forgeries. For resolution, Frayn and Burke devised this ingenious book about human gullibility and the incomprehensibility of one's own behavior. Recommended for academic and public libraries as a companion to the original play. Ming-ming Shen Kuo, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.