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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 March 2002
It surprises me that a play such as this is regularly performed yet still largely unknown. It centres around the character of Eva, brought to England during the Kindertransport which took Jewish children out of Germany, and her adult self, renamed Evelyn, as she helps her daughter, Faith, to move out of home for the first time. The play focuses on the importance of relationships and identity, Eva having forced herself into assimilation into the English culture at the expense of her own culture and relationship with her mother, whom she presumes died in the Holocaust, but who returns at the end, resulting in the final fusing of the Eva and Evelyn characters, who remain stubbornly separate until this point. Based around testimonies from Kindertransport survivors, the play expresses with heartrending realism the events, traumas and emotions experienced by those who escaped the holocaust. Figures of authority, such as policemen, and everyday things such as trains become metaphors for terror well into Evelyn's adult life, and her relationship with her own daughter is jeapodised as a result of her experiences. But perhaps the most chilling feature of all is the presence of the Ratcatcher, the figure of the young Eva's storybook, who led away the children, and here is personified in all the figures of male authority, a constant reminder of a child's worst nightmare: to be seperated from her parents; to be displaced; to be alone.
There is always much debate about who should be allowed to write about the holocaust and what should be written in order to do it justice, but this play has succeeded in both representation of events and as a play in its own right. It is the most sensational play I have read in a long time, and it affected me deeply, encouraging me to read more of the background to the Kindertransport and question the importance of nature versus nurture, and the expense at which mother-daughter bond is broken.
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on 6 April 2013
I bought this play as I am studying it for English literature GCSE and many of my peers had the paperback version which became crumpled and ruined. It is definitely to pay that little bit more for the hardback if you are studying the play as you'll be using it so much.
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on 12 December 2013
I read this very powerful play as a member of a Quaker group involved in planning events to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War One in 2014, highlighting the role of conscientious objectors in both WW1 and WW2. We hope to encourage a local secondary school to put on a production of this thought-provoking play which deals with complex issues of identity and abandonment in an appropriately nuanced way. There are no heroes, only victims - which is a fitting message to draw about any war.
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on 25 June 2016
I would love to see this play performed, as it is really hard to review a play as written form, as of course they are intended to be performed., but having read the dialogue I can tell that it is a really powerful and moving piece about the Kinder transport that saved Jewish children just before the outbreak of world war 2, and how it affected their lives and the lives of their descendants years later.
Today it seems impossible that the holocaust was allowed to happen, but it did and this is why plays like this need to be performed – history needs to be remembered.
The play is well written and moves between the child Eva and her adult counterpart Evelyn, and how she deals with being uprooted from her life with her parents in Germany to England and the strangers who become her new family. During the play Evelyn’s daughter discovers items from her Mother’s past and wants to learn more about her family history, history that Evelyn does not want to be reminded of. It is the story of those who need to forget and those who need to know, this is something that interests me because of my family, and our history, history that is now sadly unrecoverable but no less interesting.
As my Father has said ‘The true heroes never talked about it’. – not necessarily because they wanted to forget it, but because they didn’t believe they were heroes.
Again I would love to see this performed in order to understand the context better
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on 19 July 2013
received Kindertransport hard back edition within allotted time safely and in mint condition.
The book had an in depth introduction which set the play in a historical context.
The play explores parent child relationships and loss and in a wider context, the effects of WW II on young children and how others helped.
Great female characterisations with moving scenes.
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on 29 June 2016
I really enjoyed this play. It is so simply written yet invokes so many feelings and themes. The interlaced scenes between the characters both in the past and present link the different characters and their similar feelings and behaviour patterns.
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on 24 June 2015
Purchased for my son for his English GCSE revision. Very poor writing, especially towards the end of the play. The scene at the train station is horrendous; as if written by not a particularly bright student trying to squeeze fancy, misplaced metaphores all over the place to get a better mark. No idea how it made into the syllabus when there are so many wonderful plays to read/watch. Shouldn't really be surprised, having read his modern poetry compendium... Don't waste your time unless you must.
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on 5 January 2009
This play is really emotional and brings a tear to the eye as it is very heart-rending.It decribes the effects of the holocoust on children.I came across this text whilst studying in University and immediately wanted to read the entire play.I would recomend this play to everyone.
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on 22 December 2012
I am currently acting in this play, playing Evelyn, and decided I'd buy my own copy of the book because I'd heard the notes at the beginning (which we weren't given) were extremely useful. Since then, it has travelled everywhere, including a Christmas Dinner Party! The forward my Samuels and the real Kindertransport experience stories at the front of the book are interesting and prove extremely useful to actors, trying to perform the difficult production. The play itself is beautiful and worth reading. It is a moving piece set in two different time periods, studying the effects of the horrors of the war and human relationships, amongst other touching and difficult topics. It is a joyful read. Having read other reviews about the pages falling out... it hasn't happened to my copy nor my directors tatty and very well-annotated copy!
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on 30 September 2014
Fascinating. I had very little knowledge of this attempt to cheat Hitler... While only a tiny drop in an ocean of Jewish children, still a valiant attempt to save some.
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