Square Rounds

Square Rounds

4 (1) · Contemporary, Fringe Theatre

The first UK production in nearly 30 years.


“You were very naïve if you could ever believe
that warfare would stop with your gun
for chemist/engineer a brand new era
of invention in war’s just begun.”

In a new production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, the rediscovery of Tony Harrison’s Square Rounds in its first UK production for nearly 30 years plays at the Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season..

Fritz Haber, a German Jewish chemist, has been ordered by the Kaiser to develop a deadly poison gas to help Germany win the First World War. Despite the protestations of his wife, Haber hopes that his new invention will be an opportunity to escape his status as an outsider in German society. Little does he know, however, that his invention will go on to be used to exterminate his own people in the Holocaust just 25 years later.

American inventor Hudson Maxim is concerned for his country and the frightening technological advances employed by America’s new European enemies. But he is also jealous of his brother Hiram – internationally famous for his invention of the machine gun – and deeply suspicious of his brother’s cosy relationship with the European powers. 

Based on true events and featuring an all-female cast, Square Rounds explores the devastating effects of technology, the personal demons of the inventors, and the escalating tensions between nations in the build up to war. Presented in the year that marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, this play about war and the devastating impact of chemical warfare and weapons of mass destruction has never been more timely.

Critic reviews

Rare revival for Tony Harrison’s scathing verse play about the intertwining of science and war

Time Out

In a graphic moment the cast simply file across the stage, blindfolded, as in a Paul Nash painting

The Arts Desk

Witty but didactic verse drama about the scientific history of weapons

The Stage

This all-female revival of Harrison’s 1992 piece exploring scientific morality is expressively directed and performed

The Guardian

Compelling pacifist play by Tony Harrison in which we are posed with the question of what men decide to do with scientific progress

Everything Theatre

Date & time

Show ended
Tue 4 Sep - Sat 29 Sep, 3pm & 7.30pm


118 Finborough Road SW10 9ED London, UK · Get Directions
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