The Edelweiss Pirates

Ayub Khan

Parker and Snell Youth Company

theSpace on the Mile

From 14 August 2017 to 19 August 2017

Rating: ***

Review by Robin Strapp

Not every youth in Nazi Germany was a member of the Hitler Youth. There was a group of teenagers who were opposed to the government that called themselves The Edelweiss Pirates and the young company of Parker and Snell Youth Company convincingly tell their story.

It’s inventively presented with narrators, using torches, sitting in the audience as they reveal some of the horrific facts concerning the horrendous fate of the million of Jews who were exterminated in the death camps.

This group of deviant youngsters were regarded as criminals by the Gestapo as they produced leaflets and daubed walls with anti-war graffiti but also provided safe refuge for some Jewish children.

The young cast perform with conviction the story of how they were forced into hiding and many had to reject their pro-Nazi parents' beliefs.

Things take a turn for the worst when Jewish Benjiman meets a German deserter Rutger in the flat resulting in a powerful scene of violence and prejudice.

It’s simply staged, made more powerful by the intimate atmosphere, and is somewhat uncomfortable viewing as we learn about the clothing warehouse where clothes from the Jews were offered to the poor German citizens, much to their slowly realised horror of where they came from.

The dramatic ending is incredibly moving and brought a tear to eye.

A thoughtful and impressive production.