INCIDENT AT VICHY
by Arthur Miller.
The Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED to 22 April 2017.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 1hr 30 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 847 1642.
Review: William Russell 30 March
b>Forgotten Miller comes powerfully alive
Not seen here since 1966 Miller’s play, first staged on Broadway in 1964 and considered then by one critic as “one of the most important plays of our time, may have lost a little of whatever it was it then but Phil Willmott’s authoritative revival shows it remains as relevant today as then. Set in 1942 in an anonymous room in Vichy France seated on a bench eight men are waiting to be interviewed by a German doctor. They are all Jews, with the exception of a handsome Austrian prince (Edward Killingback, impressive as a man who has looked the other way) whose “arrest” is patently a mistake. The others are a mixed bunch ranging from a patriarchal old man to a young boy who have been pulled off the streets allegedly to have their documents checked. In fact the Germans are clearing Vichy of Jews and sending them to the camps. The men wait for something to happen, discuss their plight, squabble, worry whether their papers are in order, and refuse to recognise what lies ahead or to join the doctor (Gethin Alderman), who wants to make a break for it.
Miller may have been looking at how the Nazis got away with it, how people, otherwise blameless, went along with what was happening by pretending nothing was happening, and at how 1964 reacted to l942. But what he had to say seems just as relevant in the era of Trump and Putin. Think Moslems, illegal immigrants, Mexicans and whoever those in power define as society’s enemies and take it from there.
The cast is strong, the play worth reviving. The last in the season of plays Willmott has staged here and at the Union in Southwark Incident at Vichy brings it to a powerful, thought provoking and moving end.
Lebeau, a painter: Lawrence Boothman.
Bayard, an electrician: Brendan O’Rourke.
Marchand, a businessman: Will Bryant.
Monseau, an actor: PK Taylor.
Gypsy: Andro Crespo.
Waiter: Michael Skellern.
Major: Henry Wyrley-Birch.
Police Captain: James Boyd.
Leduc, a doctor: Gethin Alderman.
Professor Hoffman: Timothy Harker.
Von Berg, a Prince: Edward Killingbeck.
Boy: Daniel Dowling.
Old Jew: Jeremy Gagan.
Director: Phil Willmott.
Designer: Georgia de Gray.
Lighting Designer: Robbie Butler.
Costume Designer: Penn O’Gara.
Sound & Music: Theo Holland.