Review: The Beekeeper

By John Nathan, May 21, 2012
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Waterloo East Theatre, London SE1

I am often torn by new Holocaust plays. What new lesson can possibly be learned? Here playwright Michael Ashton explores the relationship between Menachem (Eliot Giuralarocca), a Jewish Auschwitz inmate, and Richard Baer (Robert Harding), the camp’s last commandant. Adrian McDougall’s punchy production makes a decent fist of recreating a corner of Auschwitz and a fraction of the suffering that existed there.

Ashton is interested in an imbalance of power. The murderous Baer runs the camp but wants two things that only Menachem can supply – one is honey from Menachem’s bees, the other is redemption from Menchem’s humanity. Although the play is based on real events, it appears to rely on the common misconception that the cruel invariably feel guilt for their crimes. I’m not sure that, as lessons go, this one is very useful. (020 7928 0060)

    Last updated: 10:35am, May 22 2012