Review: Now This is Not The End


After the last Holocaust survivor dies, it's not unreasonable to suppose that the generation of playwrights that have attempted to write about the subject might also dwindle. But, on current evidence, it looks like a new generation is prepared to take it on, spurred in part by the death of first-hand witnesses.

Just as Joshua Harmon's comedy Bad Jews asks how testimony can be kept alive, so does this compact and poignant drama by Rose Lewenstein. Populated by three generations of women, the oldest of whom, Eva (Brigit Forsyth) escaped Nazi Berlin as a child, it charts the legacy of survival as seen through the eyes of Eva's middle-aged daughter Susan (Wendy Nottingham) and Rosie (Jasmine Blackborow).

The action switches between modern London and modern Berlin, where Rosie has fallen in love with a German boyfriend. As Eva starts to lose her mind to Alzheimer's, Susan's need to protect her mother's testimony, which she recorded on a tape years previously, becomes more urgent.

Lewenstein constructs the family's story by moving the narrative forward and back in time, much like memory itself. Psychologically, not everyone's behaviour is convincing in Katie Lewis's production. When the young German boyfriend is confronted by Eva's sudden rage after speaking to her in German, he and Rosie strangely respond with bemusement rather than understanding. But, in the main, Lewenstein cleverly and delicately allows the past to be viewed from today's perspective. A talent to watch.

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