Camp Siegfried review: The Old Vic game is an insightful piece about the frightening appeal of fascism

He’s a nerve bag. It is a bag of expansion glands. He is cheerful, playful, and sincere, showing off at him by swinging his ax and chopping logs with a single macho blow. The slender skeptic squirmly waves his arms, worried about a splinter he found in his hand.

It makes sense then – doesn’t it? – It will be much more suited to the Nazi summer camp that seems to have sprouted strangely on Long Island. The year is 1938. The location is just 40 minutes’ drive from New York and is so connected to mainland America that she thinks it would be more accurate to call it a peninsula than an island.

Come again?

Let’s start from the beginning. A very good place to start – while singing the sound of music. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is one of those works of art set during the rise of Hitler. Camp Siegfried. Spectacular British premiere now old victim, Bess Wohl’s play is a highly intelligent and insightful piece about the frightening psychological appeal of fascism.

In May 2020, Wohl rented a property on Long Island and found himself compelled to create an impromptu summer camp for his three young children. An industrious Harvard graduate has researched the phenomenon of summer camps, uncovering gruesome—and creatively valuable—material about Yaphank, a summer camp that caters to the children of German-Americans. The children were able to gather on the streets of Goebbels and Adolf Hitler to give each other the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler”.

It would be easy to taunt the young couple in this two-handed game—trying to rally them in the sinister fun of “Spring for Hitler,” which resembles Mel Brooks’ sparks. Producers.

The eerie multiple puns on the word “Camp” are not lost on Wohl. Hitler, after all, wrote a self-justifying book. my fight (“My Struggle”) and the idea of ​​a connection between fascism and the camp has come to the minds of writers as diverse as Mel Brooks and Susan Sontag.

Patsy Ferran (Her) and Luke Thallon (Her) at Camp Siegfried at Old Vic

(Manual Harlan)

Camp Siegfried It wants to be interpreted together with literary works such as Arrow of Time By Martin Amis, who gives us fresh insights by alienating fascism and the Holocaust. Amis does this by re-running her horror counterclockwise.

Wohl admirably treats the young couple not with sarcastic contempt, but with troubling respect for irony. This is a true love story. Bringing the piece to a stunning life, Luke Thallon and Patsy Ferran ache tangibly with their desire for each other. It’s the conditions that are shocking. Under the unholy spell of Hitler worship, she finally masturbates herself to orgasm in front of him. Not your average romantic climax.

Katy Rudd’s production makes extraordinary sense, describing the physical space in the Old Vic. First, we see the black and white documentary footage of the camp’s chest beating activities. This is seen behind a screen whose bars suggest the jungle with nighttime encounters designed for reproduction.

As the audience, we feel trapped and threatened by the exuberant band music that seems to be coming towards us from behind. Succumbing (despite herself) to fascist drug, the girl delivers a Hitler-like refrain to a microphone placed on the lip of a protruding forest.

He obviously has the ability to initiate and awaken from these trance-like states. The couple intersects emotionally and ideologically and realistically. Thallon is a heartbreaking portrayal of a young man who realizes he has turned into a murderous thug but is fatally unable to resist the consequences.

Any comparison with Donald Trump’s political worldview and electoral ambitions is purely on purpose. The production is a great success.

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