Kindertransport - by
Diane Samuels  
26th, 27th and 28th March 2009  

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Cast                Production Team
Eva Christ Drew            Director Andrew Rogers
Helga Frances Dennis   Production Assistant Lynn Marsh
Evelyn Karen Rogers   Stage Manager Val Parker
Faith Sophie Robertson   Assistant Stage Manager Tina Rouse
Lil Sylvia Zilesnick   Properties Liz Adams
Ratcatcher Iain Howland   Assistant Properties Sue Langham
      Continuity Jonica Brown
      Costume Christine Eckley
      Set Design & Construction Jon Denne
      Lighting Design Terry Tew
      Sound Design Lisa Maule
      Sound/Lighting Operation Dan Cooper
      Programme Design Howard Platt
      Production Photos Howard Platt
 

Review by Allison Moor

Overall Impressions

I didnít clock watch and I cried. Also very important, I heard everything. No one was too quiet

However, the opening could have had more impact - we floated in rather than established the story from the off.

Iíll be honest, I havenít watched a production by LADS before and found it to be of a very good standard.  Believe me, I have watched some professional productions that donít even match. It is very clear that you have all worked very hard. I will be back.

Choice of play and direction

A mostly female cast!  Iím always happy to see this. Not because I am a feminist but because menís roles are usually the more meaty and there are normally more men on stage; so it is a refreshing change. 

I do think the author left a lot of gaps emotionally and tried to convey a story and deliver a message and forgot about each charactersí journey.

I think the pace could have varied more, particularly in the first act.

Set

Staging this is a challenge but I think that was dealt with very well with the different levels for the time and space.  The loft was like any I have seen and I was particularly amused by the Christmas tree, how very real. I like that the actors did their own set changes, it works well, particularly when you are all pretty much on stage all the time - itís the obvious transition

Lights, sound, effects and costume

I wonder if more could have been done with the lighting to differentiate the split stage so that those in the freeze could have less light on them and those in the action could have more, although this did seem to happen more in the second act

I liked the music at the beginning - it was uncomfortable and I like to be challenged emotionally as an audience member. Throughout the rest of the play I didnít notice it, but it did help with the effect.

Smoking on stage, how exciting to push the boundaries. The rat catcher image was fantastic, clear and imposing. Helgaís hair, amazing. I thought all costuming was appropriate.

Actors ~ ensemble

It took a while for you all to get into it. You slowly warmed in when you should have already been there. 

Freezes were well done. It is hard to stand still without projecting thoughts and being caught by action going on around you and then come back to us with an energy, but you all achieved it. However, sometimes the characters were motionless and sometimes they were going about their business - one or other would have been better for continuity.

Sometimes I didnít believe the relationships. Eva and Lilís relationship was solid, through but they did have the easier journey, starting from their first meeting to a growing relationship. Everyone else had to come in with an established relationship to convey. I wonder if you all spoke about characters and your opinions on the relationships because sometimes it seemed as if you were just saying the lines without much thought.

Know your props. Sometimes you seem to struggle with the handling of some items, Lil and a cigarette, Faith and the boxes. Things can go wrong and you can treat them as natural, so well done when something was dropped, and it was just picked up. Thatís so much more realistic than leaving it and thinking Ďthat shouldnít have happenedí.

Just the same, Evaís coat was buttoned incorrectly and a mum would re-arrange this. You may not have noticed this Sylvia, but if you did it would have been a nice touch. 

Actors as individuals

Faith Ė Sophie Robertson

Almost there. Your anger came from nowhere when you werenít being given the answers you seeked. The emotion should grow from frustration perhaps then to anger rather from intrigue to anger. That said, teenagers donít often need a reason to explode so if that was your intention then I take back what I said. 

On occasion you seemed to lose focus, as if someone had said a line incorrectly and you phased out of character for an instant. You look comfortable on stage and there was a moment when you got really angry and it was warranted and I loved it, but try to be more outward. You have a very lovely natural style but in a venue with a larger audience you may get a little lost. By this I mean you should project out to the audience some more, cheat your reactions to us in a bigger way. I donít know your age but you portrayed the age of the character very well

Helga Ė Frances Dennis

What a transformation from the first act to the second. In the first I would have liked to have had a wrenching in my stomach. Obviously you were trying to remain calm for your daughter but I think you needed to project your inner turmoil more.  But then in the second act, your whole being changed and I wondered if it was actually the same actress.  The make-up was good but your physicality changed to that of someone that had been through so much pain physically and emotionally. Your personality had changed dramatically from someone so together and calm to someone who was on the edge. I loved it. It was the culmination of this change and Evaís coolness towards you that made me cry.

Eva Ė Christi Drew

Spot on!  You took me on an emotional journey. My only issue is your monologues being delivered to the audience rather than out loud to yourself. I think this would have had more impact. And I think you could have been even more childlike as the 10 year old, but you were noticeably older when the time came. Accent didnít seem to falter either.

Evelyn Ė Karen Rogers

I would have liked to have seen tears. This is a lot to ask, I know, tears shouldnít be faked and if they donít come, donít pretend. You had this secret that you had put to the back of your mind for so many years that you had actually forgotten who you were until Faith started digging. I wanted you to scream out loud, almost. However, you reverted to a childlike state, again relying on your mother Lil and I liked this a lot.  I could see you remembering and being uncomfortable with your thoughts. In your monologue I think you could have taken your time more, recalled, see the images and feel them. It was a little too fast.

Lil Ė Sylvia Zilesnick

Lovely character, mumsy, nanny like and ever so protective when required. I thought you gave in a little too easily to Faith when pressed on your daughters past. I think that kind of secret should be blurted out accidentally in a tongue tied situation. But I do think that is a fault of the writer. You had a great emotional range to tackle and did so effortlessly. I really liked this character.

Rat catcher Ė Iain Howland

Your first character was a little flimsy in that I would like you to have been scarier to a ten year old but the contrast between this and the English guard was obvious. I loved this character and the light relief of the humour that you injected into those characters. Like Frances , I did wonder if you were the same actor, you managed to become something different physically and emotionally in a short space of time.  Good comic timing.

Final Thoughts

I was educated on something I know very little about and that is why I love theatre.  Obviously it is only one womanís story, but it was an interesting one. 

I have been harsh of individual performance, I know. Itís only because I see great things and there is always room for improvement.