Review: Kindertransport takes you to the past, present and future

KinderTransport by The Heath Players
Hatfield Heath Village Hall

FIRST things first, the performance of Eva by Chrissie Waites was outstanding. It was so confident, so measured, so impressive. Chrissie as both Eva and then Evelyn managed to convey the fears, hopes and regrets of a young girl being transported from Nazi Germany to England. Perhaps, strangely enough, you go away remembering her comedic skills as Eva has a number of great one-liners but her performance (later on) made you understand the terrible difficulties young Germans had in creating a new life and indeed creating a new identity.

It also has to be said that once again, the quality of acting from the Heath Players is outstanding. All six performers acting at the very highest level.

This began with Helga played by Vanessa Walker who, although she was channelling her daughter to safety, gave off a sense of betrayal. That sense returned later and Vanessa Walker conveyed that brilliantly.

Becky Vincent’s Lil was also an important part, some would say a pivotal figure. Becky’s portrayal again balanced the ebullient matriarch with the sympathetic figure trying to create a new life for Eva.

The production juxtaposes the war period and forty years later where Eva’s daughter confronts her about her background. Faith played by Jenna Young is that deeply annoying daughter who is deeply self involved. Please don’t take this the wrong way Jenna but you were really believable but the role had depth. Jenna was angry and unsure about her identity and was taking it out on her mother.

Jaki Newman played the older Eva, now called Evelyn. This was a complex role, played very sensitively by Jaki. Every anguish felt by Evelyn was felt by the audience.

A mention in dispatches to Andy Prangel, who by our count played five minor roles but all significant.

This was a skilfully directed piece by Steve Foster, who clearly meticulously prepared for this production and got the very best out of the performers. This was such a taut production, that left the audience gripped as well as providing food for thought. Perhaps it was lines like “Don’t throw away those documents, you might need them someday” that echoed with the present.

Having reviewed Collaboration by MHP Theatre last week and now KinderTransport this week, it is important to never forget.

Runs until Saturday.

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