FEAR AND MISERY OF THE THIRD REICH
by Bertolt Brecht translated by John Willett.
Union Theatre 24 Union Street SE1 0LX To 30 January 2016.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm. Sun 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7261 9876.
Review: William Russell 13 January.
A message as true today as when these plays were penned.
First staged in Paris in 1938, Brecht’s series of playlets are a devastating account of life in Nazi Germany and the message – the silent majority remains silent at its peril – is a relevant today as it was then.
Phil Willmott’s production brings the message home quite chillingly. As a father careless with his sentiments, suddenly scared that his Hitler Youth son is about to betray his parents and a Judge faced with having to rule on a case involving Blackshirts who have assaulted a Jewish shop-keeper, having to face up to delivering the correct verdict to satisfy the people of power, he gives a terrific performance.
The playlets are funny at times, frightening at other times, and give plenty to think about as people face up to coping with a life in which nobody can be trusted, young Nazi hooligans wreak havoc, and Jews are evil. It is also a good life in face of all the evidence. There are no shortages, the Reich is wonderful. To suggest otherwise is treason.
There is a fine set by Nick Corrall, and the sound design by James Nicholson conjures up the atmosphere of fear and loathing splendidly.
Willmott has secured very good performances from his entire cast, especially Clara Francis as the mother of the Nazi Youth who has inexplicably gone out and leaving his parents wondering why, and as a Jewish wife trying too late to leave Germany for what she hopes is safety in Amsterdam.
It is a stimulating and deeply disturbing evening, well worth catching.
Cook: Jeryl Burgess.
Chauffeur: Mark Desmond.
Klaus Heinrich: Joe Dowling.
Wife: Clara Francis.
Maidservant: Harriet Grenville.
Hitler Youth: Ben Kerfoot.
Radio Announcer: Christopher Laishley.
Woman Worker: Tori Louis.
SA Man: Feliks Mathur.
Worker: Joshua Ruhle.
Hitler Youth: Tam Williams.
Husband: Phil Willmott.
Director: Phil Willmott.
Designer: Nick Corrall.
Lighting: Jack Weir.
Sound: James Nicholson.
Musical Director: Richard Baker.
Costume: Nick Corrall, Sasha Regan.
Assistant director: Nastazja Somers,