- David Laing
- 21 August 2008
This article is from 2008.
Vivid Holocaust journey
'They came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.' Attributed to Martin Niemöller, this sentiment comes to mind during Badac Theatre's disturbing and compelling reconstruction of the death journey of so many of Hitler's final solution victims. As concentration camp prisoners mumble outside the entrance to the cramped underground chambers, the distressing promenade takes effect even before entering the venue.
With an intensity rarely achieved theatrically, each actor, dressed in filthy prison uniform, barks frighteningly aggressive orders as this immersive experience pounds the senses. Metal batons beat a searing, painful rhythm, as the guards pass by, leaving nothing but the wish for them not to return, even if others are experiencing the same pain as a consequence.
We learn more as the journey progresses, each step becoming filled with dread, representing as it does a step closer to the gas. Forced to strip, each prisoner retains a harrowing dignity, singing the 'Hatikva', a song of hope sung by the survivors of Bergen Belsen in 1945, before a deathly silence. This is not a theatre of entertainment, but of instruction: a reminder of what happens when good men do nothing. This will leave you numb.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 24 Aug, times vary, £9.50 (£8).