Mengele

Mengele, performed at the Katzspace Theatre in the basement of Katzenjammers, was inspired by¬†Right to Live by Philip Wharam. It is a two-person play focusing on the Nazi ‘doctor’, Joseph Mengele, who escaped to South America after the Second World War. Rescued from a river by a mysterious woman, Mengele is encouraged to recount his horrific actions during the Holocaust – actions which included experiments on children and others. All attempts to justify his actions fall on deaf ears, and Mengele eventually comes to realise that he must pay for what he has done.

There is a superb performance from Tim Marriott (who also adapted the story for the stage) as Mengele, who presents him as someone who believed absolutely in what he did. Mengele comes across as a human being rather than a monster, and, frighteningly, some of his thoughts and beliefs almost sound reasonable – until you remember who he was and what he did. Emma Wingrove is also very good as the avenging angel who comes to find him, and reminds us that Mengele practised great evil.

This play is an uncomfortable watch, but worthwhile, especially in our current age. When Holocaust deniers seem to be becoming increasingly prevalent, it’s more important than ever to remember what happened.

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C’est La Vie – Sarah Bernhardt and Me

C’est La Vie – Sarah Bernhardt and Me is a one-woman show about the celebrated nineteenth-century actress Sarah Bernhardt. As a fan of this amazing woman, I went along to the performance in the new Katzpace theatre in Katzenjammers.

Written and performed by Hilary Tones, the show begins as an actress travels to an audition. Asked to perform something relating to Sarah Bernhardt, she tries to learn all about her.

Tones brings Sarah to life in front of our eyes, regaling us with stories of her early life, her struggles to become an actress and her career that took her all over the world. The sections in which she portrays Sarah’s various French-speaking roles are particularly impressive. To be honest I don’t think the show really needed the bridging story of the actress going to an audition – Sarah’s story is compelling enough to stand alone.

This is a fascinating piece that does justice to Sarah Bernhardt’s talents and is well worth seeing.