Taken at Midnight
Richard Parish | 09 Aug 2018 13:52pm
In a world beset with current conflict and tyranny it is maybe not such a difficult fact to grasp that nothing changes. And so it was, nearly ninety years ago, with the rise of the Nazi Party and all that was to follow.
But not before a 29 year-old German lawyer Hans Litten decided to subpoena none other than one Adolf Hitler to appear as a witness in the Berlin trial of some of his very own storm troopers. The accomplished young lawyer tied the self-styled Fuhrer in knots and in front of a crowded public gallery Hitler undoubtedly thought himself humiliated.
The additional fact that Litten had earlier in his life converted to Judaism was not going to help with what followed – the revenge of a dictator by incarceration of Litten as a political prisoner, concentration camp, humiliation, torture and for Hans, the ultimate self sacrifice when there was no more hope in the devil that was Dachau.
And throughout his living hell Litten’s mother Irmgard never gave up hope, fighting for his dignity and release until it was too late.
This, then, is the true story told by playwright Mark Hayhurst in ‘Taken At Midnight’ and whilst perhaps not the most entertaining of subjects for a spring evening at The Mill Studio in Guildford, the cleverly crafted production of this sobering story is a testimony to that most accomplished band of actors who make up Lighted Fools Theatre Company.
Fools’ founder and director of the play, Richard Parish, dislikes the ‘A’ word (think about it!) but it is difficult to believe his players are indeed ‘non-professional’.
There is not a performance to be faulted. So, in singling out company stalwart Alison Brooks – she played in the first ever Fools’ production sixteen years ago – as Irmgard, Nick Lund as Hans and Graham Collier as the Nazi officer Dr Conrad, it would be unfair not to mention the tremendous support roles of Paul Halliwell and David Hemsley-Brown as two more political prisoners, Derek Watts as Litten Senior and the two debut performances of Steve Alais as the foppish and useless Lord Clifford Allen and young Ben Howarth in the play’s remaining roles and whom some of us have seen cut his acting teeth in perhaps more light-hearted roles elsewhere!
Honours, too, to the rest of the production crew……Hemsley-Brown, again, for the simple but so effective set design and construction and use of The Mill’s intimate space…..Alex Lyon and David Perkins for the spot-on lighting and sound – all on perfect cue…Richard Parish’s greatest supporter, Gill Parish for her wardrobe – and so much more….and the rest of the back-stage ‘boys and girls’ for whom there is never a bow – stage manager Sue Webb, publicity art work, Jane Hemsley-Brown and programme Michael Clements.
A final thought. ‘Taken at Midnight’ was commissioned and first performed at Chichester, only four years ago and this production is the first non-professional production outside the West Sussex city and London. For Lighted Fools to be granted that privilege says it all!
- : user
- : 11/04/2018