Thursday, April 07, 2011

at the Cramphorn Theatre

Bull-necked, jack-booted, Hermann Goering stands before us, a defiant, arrogant, thug. But also an honest airman, a heroic Siegfried, a lover of the theatre. A believer in power through truth; a loyal supported of Hitler from the earliest days.

It is his last night; he is about to cheat the hangman, win one last victory and finally find a kind of peace.

Ross Gurney-Randall's mesmerising performance switches from his bare cell to the Nuremburg courtroom, using verbatim extracts from the trial, with Goering answering the disembodied voice of prosecutor Jackson.

No German accent, no uniform, no scenery, no clever effects. Just the man, refusing to excuse or apologise, talking to us without pretence; the magic here is in the words [written by Gurney-Randall with Andrew Bailey and the director, Guy Masterson]. The most poetical passages were for the worst atrocities – the violence of the beer hall massacre, the searing images from the death camps – Himmler's baby, according to Goering's testimony.

This is no mere history lesson, though we do follow Hitler's right-hand man through the rise of Nazism to its defeat. Tomorrow belongs to his child Edda, he says, And as we live that tomorrow with her, we must never forget how easy it is for men like Hermann to persuade and pervert.

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