The Tin Ring
Zdenka Fantlova, adapted by Mike Alfreds and Jane Arnfield
Zdenka Fantlova’s powerful story of surviving the Holocaust is both moving and humbling. She had a love of Hollywood musicals, particularly Broadway Melody of 1936, and learnt to speak English as a result which was to save her life.
When the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, “in long columns like black ants”, life changed forever. She was forced to leave school and her parents sent her to an English-speaking boarding school.
Restrictions came fast and furious and when the transports to the camps began she developed a survival strategy; ignorance was part of this survival kit. You either became a victim or an observer and if you were not a victim then you stood a better chance of surviving.
Eventually she was sent to Teresina camp where she was briefly reunited with her lover Anton through volunteering to peel potatoes.
She ended up in Belsen where she nearly died from typhus but, weighing just 77 pounds, she was rescued by a British soldier, still wearing the tin engagement ring that Anton had given her.
The heart-wrenching account of life in that death camp is harrowing. But this story of hope and the power of love is universal and inspiring.
Jane Arnfield performs with consummate skill, drawing the audience in to share this compelling story, playing myriad characters, each beautifully created, in a tour-de-force performance.
Impressively directed by Mike Alfreds, this inspiring story is testament to human resilience.
Reviewer: Robin Strapp