Hess

Michael Burrell

Kim Kinnie / Gilded Balloon

Gilded Balloon Teviot

From 03 August 2016 to 29 August 2016

Rating: ***

Review by Graeme Strachan

In the lonely cells of Spandau prison, some time in the '80s, Rudolph Hess addresses the audience with a friendly welcome, expounding on his near-worship of Adolf Hitler, his take on the war and the reasons behind his flight to Scotland in an unsuccessful attempt to broker an alliance between Great Britain and the Third Reich.

It's a fascinating idea to visit the mind of an aging monster, locked in a cage for over 30 years, and Michael Burrell's play has lost little of the power and fascination it has long-held.

Derek Crawford Munn´╗┐ performs the role of the aging Nazi with a measured frailty, which was amusingly tossed aside as he sharply took his final bow. His Hess is a pitiable figure, weak and broken, often in pain and utterly lonely.

Yet it's the same pity that allows the audience to feel more strongly the horror of the bigoted and fanatical beliefs he spews out at various moments in his argument.

It's a solid production, yet never quite exceeds the material, nor breaks away from some of the pacing flaws that are inherent to the work; still a laudable performance and an informative and thought provoking hour.