EDWARD Bennett's superb portrayal of the tragic genius Alan Turing dominates the impressive production of Hugh Whitemore's play Breaking the Code, directed by Christian Durham in the round at Salisbury Playhouse.

Turing, whose brilliance in breaking the German Enigma Code at Bletchley Park hastened the end of the Second World War, suffered from society's condemnation of his homosexuality - then a criminal act, which contributed eventually to his suicide.

The imaginative set, designed by James Button, has platforms at several levels, surmounted by girders from which perspex boards of complicated figures and equations convey the complexity of Turing's wartime task.

An excellent cast encapsulates the atmosphere of the period. Caroline Harker plays Turing's devoted mother, Sara, who is devastated by events, and Louise Calf is Pat Green, who has to accept there is no chance of romance with the man she loves.

Hubert Burton, Julian Firth, Joey Phillips, Ian Redford and Fraser Wilson bring Alan Turing's remarkable story to life in scenes that are poignant and compelling. There are some memorable characterisations.

Turing's honesty in unguarded comments to officials, and the despair which led to his eventual demise, are factors in a memorable record of our nation's history, as viewed in hindsight.

The play's original characters could scarcely have foreseen that in 2020 Alan Turing's portrait would be selected to feature on a £50 banknote.

Stella Taylor