The Curing Room (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Curing Room

Photo: Rebecca Pitt

Bold, brave, powerfully disturbing Edinburgh Festival Fringe show about WW2 cannibalism

Seven actors performing a 90-minute drama entirely naked might draw the curious, but that isn’t even the bravest thing about this dark and at times distressing show – that accolade goes to the unflinching honesty and unashamedly unsensationalist way that the aptly named Stripped Down Productions approach their horrific subject matter. David Ian Lee’s play, based on real events, charts the slow descent into insanity and cannibalism of seven Soviet troops abandoned naked by their Nazi captors in a locked monastery cellar in WW2 Poland. Little gory detail is left to the imagination, but Lee is also keen to highlight issues of loyalty, rank, deference, and the men’s fragmenting relationships with the strictures of their Soviet state. Performances are vivid and convincing (especially Harvey Robinson as the tormented Sasha), even if they’re a little full-blooded for men who have been without food for over a month, and João de Sousa’s careful yet pacey direction brings out the detail in Lee’s sometimes rather wordy dialogue. It’s strong as a will-they-won’t-they thriller, and also as a more existential questioning of morality and despair. A bold, brave, powerfully disturbing show.

Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 11), £11–£13 (£8.50–£12).

THE CURING ROOM Trailer (2014)

The Curing Room

In the spring of 1944, seven Soviet soldiers were captured by the Germans in Nazi-occupied Poland, imprisoned naked and abandoned. This powerful, thought-provoking and darkly funny play examines the lengths the men went to to survive. Based on a true story.

The Curing Room

  • 4 stars

Spring 1944: seven Soviet soldiers have been captured by the Nazis, stripped naked and abandoned in the locked empty cellar of a monastery in southern Poland. Deprived of all ties to their world, the prisoners redefine their concepts of order and human nature. In order to survive the men resort to murder and cannibalism.