★★★ | The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry And UK Tour
Set in Auschwitz, the show follows the developing relationship between two nine-year-old boys on opposite sides of the fence.
Having read the book and seen the film due to my morbid fascination with the Holocaust and this general period in our recent history I was delighted to see The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas was coming to the stage.
Being a touring production the set and staging was basic but magnificently executed giving the audience the real sense of the austerity of the concentration camp. The old typewriter being projected on the back screen was an excellent effect adding to the ambience of the piece.
Whilst I applaud the young actors in terms of the amount of lines they had to learn, I did feel they failed to connect with the audience for two reasons – diction and projection. Much of the dialogue was lost because the voice volumes were so low and were also lost in the regional accent.
This was not the case throughout as sometimes the young actors did explode into full on stage school mode, which was not appropriate for this subject matter.
Helen Anderson shone as the Grandmother; her singing in German was most definitely my highlight, as was her acting masterclass.
The closing of the show lacked the poignancy of the film and for me should have finished at the closing of the gas chamber doors allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions, the additional narration was just unnecessary.
Whilst not a 5 star show, it was a very affable afternoon and I would recommend, especially if you have not read the book, seen the film, or like myself have researched the Holocaust in minute detail.
Pleasant not award winning.
Touring Nationally, for tickets visit http://www.theboyinthestripedpyjamas.com/tour-dates.php