Review: Kinder Transport, Selladoor Productions, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, until April 21
- Credit: Archant
In a week where news of war dominates and once again ordinary people just like you and me are being plunged into yet more suffering, Kinder Transport, a play about the evacuation of Jewish children from Nazi Germany feels desperately timely.
Selladoor productions, in association with Queens Theatre Honrchurch and Les Theatres de las Ville de Luxembourg, present an outstanding production of Diane Samuel’s 1994 play. The consequences of war seen through the eyes of a Kinder Child, Eva captures the horror, humanity and the desperate truth that after a war “nothing is the same anymore.” And the guilt and denial of broken people who survive can sometimes never heal.
Set in the attic of a Manchester house, Faith (Hannah Bristow) discovers the truth about her mother’s past as a Kinder Transport child. The ties of family and blood and history repeating itself are beautifully complimented and emphasised in the Marie Luis Thies’ set design that at once is the attic then transforms into a past of Railway stations, and nightmares. The past is played out by our characters in this confined area where Evelyn wants to keep the door locked but she can’t escape.
This play about mothers is fraught throughout with high emotion, redemption and forgiveness that seems especially hardest to give to oneself.
All the performances are excellent. Each character is fully rounded and Hannah Bristow as Faith, does an excellent job of bringing compassion to a role that fully integrates the past and present. As Eva is on the verge of becoming Evelyn, Leila Schaus gives a nuanced and highly moving portrayal as does Suzan Sylvester as the older Evelyn. Her defensive body language illustrates the need for protection, and as she smokes cigarettes with her English, mother Lil - warmly played by Jenny Lee, they mirror each other exactly but can’t really see it.
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