A Nazi Comparison
Waterloo East Theatre
Reviewed – 4th October 2017
“the show lacked any substance or focus and ended as simply a diatribe on the state on the world”
Lacking focus, no clear narrative, and generally messy and muddled. This was the feeling I was left with after seeing Craft Theatre’s production of A Nazi Comparison at Waterloo East Theatre.
The concept behind they play is an interesting one and attempts to draw worrying parallels between Nazi Germany and contemporary Britain and the US. The central character, Clare, performed by Louise Goodfield, portrays a young, middle class woman turned left-wing activist who should antagonise the feminists among us. Her obviously deeply felt feelings for the state of the world build to melodrama and hysteria and she lost any admiration which we might have felt. Her speech supposedly given at UCL as part of her degree course was too long, and a political diatribe which was an attempt to reprimand the audience. However, it went down like a lead balloon and the attempt to be didactic was a failure.
There was no set as such, and the choice of props left something to be desired. The use of curtains was clumsy, the cardboard fireplace at Clare’s father’s house unnecessary and the symbolism implied by the teapot and coffee lost significance. Costume was sloppy and with a little added expense and much more thought could have been better. In an attempt to copy Katie Mitchell’s Cleansed at the National Theatre, black tights covered the faces of chorus type characters creating anonymity. The effect was diluted because faces were visible and the purpose therefore questionable.
The elements of physical theatre, again lacked commitment and seemed unnecessary. This applied especially to the scene on the tube and, frankly, the ‘rollypolly-ing’ transitions into each scene were awful.
Goodfield and Thomas Thoroe who played Clare’s father produced tolerable performances and ultimately carried the show. The production lacked humour and wit. The play culminated in a failed suicide attempt and the song ‘Over the Rainbow’ – too clichéd for words.
Overall, the show lacked any substance or focus and ended as simply a diatribe on the state on the world. As Carol Anne Duffy says in her poem War Photographer, “Our eyeballs prick” at the state of the world but hysteria goes no way to solving any problems. What was the message? Simply that things are bad on a personal and universal level? Whatever sympathy we may have for these contemporary issues, is not enhanced by this show.
Reviewed by Holly Barnard
A NAZI COMPARISON
is at The Waterloo East Theatre until 29th October