BASED on a true story, this timely and unexpectedly funny play cleverly examines the experiences of ordinary young people living under and participating in a totalitarian political regime.
[star rating= 4/5]
As the chorus to Lana del Rey’s Born To Die fade we are introduced to the women tasked with saving Hitler’s life.
Ana, Lisle and Hilde are three young girls who have been hand-picked to prevent the Fuhrer from being poisoned. Between meals they bicker, gossip and take selfies on their mobile phones.
But alongside their youthful excitement we see something darker begin to emerge. Michelle Kholos Brooks’ play explores the paranoia and mental stress caused by the repeated testing sessions.
The more the girls insist on how privileged they are the hollower their words sound. Even their inane bickering is quickly exposed as a way to distract from the reality that each meal could be their last.
It also exposes the paranoia which comes with being exposed to propaganda from a young age.
While the costumes and dialogue all reference 1940s Germany, the production updates the girls’ characterisation to make them more relatable as naive, giddy teenage girls who choose to remain ignorant of the atrocities being committed by their own government. They idolise Hitler in the same way they idolise movie stars and gush over the possibility of meeting his dog.
The cast of talented young women portraying these girls never shy away from showing the ignorance, naivety and self-delusion which lead them to take jobs working for Hitler. However, despite this they are portrayed as incredibly human and varied characters.
Even Hilde, who can only be described as what you’d get if Regina George joined the Hitler Youth, is made into a believable if unsympathetic character.
The dialogue is dark but hilarious as it exposes the girls’ twisted logic in making sense of their role in Hitler’s Reich, with plenty of lines which will feel all too relevant to modern audiences.
The production boasts slick production design, with neon lighting and upbeat music to highlight how young and lively the girls are and effectively contrasting with their dark situation.