John Heffernan leads the cast of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Tom Morton-Smith’s Oppenheimer as it transfers to the West End.

The drama, which premiered at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon earlier this year, tells the story of the ambitious and charismatic J Robert Oppenheimer, a man often referred to as “the father of the atomic bomb”.

Set in 1939 as fascism spreads across Europe, Franco marches on Barcelona and two German chemists discover the processes of atomic fission, Oppenheimer sees theoretical physicists in Berkeley, California recognize the horrendous potential of this new science: a weapon that draws its power from the very building blocks of the universe.

Oppenheimer finds himself uniquely placed to spearhead the largest scientific undertaking in all of human history and, determined to cast off his radical past and struggling with tempestuous relationships with his colleagues, wife and mistress, he is thrust into a position of power, racing to create a weapon so devastating that it would bring about an end not just to the Second World War, but to all war.

Heffernan returns to the London stage following recent performances in Edward II at the National Theatre, The Hothouse at the Trafalgar Studios and The Physicists at the Donmar Warehouse.

Oppenheimer is directed by Angus Jackson, whose work includes the Olivier Award-winning Goodnight Mister Tom.

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