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  • Writer's pictureEugene


Both of our RCC shows this weekend involved deception. For Operation Mincemeat, it was the secret ploy created by British intelligence in 1942-1943 to fool Nazi Germany into believing that the allies were planning to invade Greece, rather than Sicily. For CP Taylor’s Good, it was John Halder’s self-deception and arrogance as he became more and more engaged with the evil Nazi machine.

This was an extremely powerful play. Seeing the actors in close-up is a special feature of the NT Live productions. Seated in the dress circle, we would never have seen Elliott Levey’s face stream with tears during his last scene with David Tennant. Sharon Small impressed with her versatility.

The play unsettles as we see a highly intelligent professor, a Goethe specialist, rationalise his involvement in National Socialism. He is flattered, rewarded, given an easy life. His writing on euthanasia eases the path to the Final Solution. He is happy to leave his only friend, a Jewish doctor, to perish. Halder is fine with burning books if he can keep his own copies.

We talked about the music in the production, which is central. Halder hears imaginary music all the time, until the final scene when reality finally hits. The cold, grey, industrial style scenery meant that when colour is introduced, we get a shock. This makes the proscribed books thrown into a fire and Halder’s uniform stand out as symbols.

This production shook us all.

Anne Goldstein

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