Harrowing depiction of the Holocaust is a powerful reminder of the past
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: November 11, 2015
SOMETIMES the untold stories behind the history can be more harrowing and gut-wrenching than anything dreamed up by Hollywood.
David Wrightam’s latest outing for Class Act Theatre Company is one such tale.
Holocaust – The Schonberg Story tells the true story of a family of ten, a Jewish mother with four sons and five daughters, who suffered through the atrocities at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War.
Following their story over five years, the audience is witness to the accelerated decline of the standing of the Jewish population in war-torn Warsaw and German-occupied Poland, before swiftly moving between the Convent of the Sacred Heart to Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in Act Two.
David Wrightam’s cinematic story telling quickly switches locations through the unfolding drama and his direction, ably assisted by Nicola Law, offers powerful imagery and heartbreaking scenes that demonstrate how easily we can make others suffer at our own ignorance.
These are lessons we should never forget.
Nicola Law also plays the matriarchal Golda Schonberg, mother-of-nine, who commanded the stage throughout with a performance that left the audience speechless during her final scenes and would be worthy of any professional stage.
Ashley Lovett and Danielle Stark as eldest children Effrem and Beth Schonberg both gave moving performances as they fought to keep their family together and the play’s final scene, impressively acted by such young talent, surely couldn’t have left a dry eye in the theatre.
The Reverend Mother of the Sacred Heart Convent, Ellie Johnson, was destined to play such a role.
With clear diction and presence throughout, Ellie portrayed the nuns’ building frustration and resilience with aplomb, especially in the climactic scenes during her face-off with Jeremy Forward’s chilling Herr Zeiger.
Special mentions also to Owen Raper as Romek Schonberg and Tara Lidguard as Lana Petronove. Both youngsters have promising theatrical careers ahead if they continue to give these strong performances.
As Owen, as Romek, so touchingly remarked during the opening scenes: “We are the children whose lives and dreams were stolen away.”
David Wrightam and the Class Act team should be applauded for reminding us of our past and bringing a drama of such intensity to local theatre.