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Theatre review Odious comparison between now and the fascist '30s

COMPARISONS with the state of the world now and the 1930s are currently difficult to ignore and many are not without merit.

With Trump installed in the White House, the far right on the rise in Germany and overt state violence returning in Spain, it’s easy to see the similarities. And, as the rather transparent title of Craft Theatre’s latest production evidences, its aim is to make those comparisons explicit on stage.

Thus, when naive public relations student Clare (Louise Goodfield) stumbles across a copy of what was supposedly Hitler’s favourite play — Hanns Johst’s Schlagetter — she cannot help but see the parallels with today on every page. Anger begins to take over as she looks for solutions in all the wrong places and her life drifts into predictable ruin.

Things unravel rapidly as she falls out with her mother, is used and abused by a fellow squatter and quits university with a 10-minute diatribe against the war economy.

But by the time she eventually reaches the conclusion that “the West makes the nazi regime looks like Charlie Chaplin” it is difficult not to be irked. Quite frankly, it’s all too much to take in and it helps little that most of the acting, aside from a raw performance from Goodfield, is overblown and regularly verges on melodramatic.

There are at least two scenes where two characters bellow at each other at full volume without moving an inch around the stage, suggesting that this is a show that would have benefited greatly from more creative direction.

Complete with song, dance and acrobatics, the fact that the most effective moments are both video projections, one an LSE-produced video on media bias towards Jeremy Corbyn and the other a compilation of vile Trump speeches, reflect how lousy this devised piece really is.

Runs until October 29, box office:


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