God on Trial

God on Trial is a vital and important piece of theatre. A group of Jews in Auschwitz decide to put God in the docks and debate in absentia whether he has broken His covenant to His people. Twenty fours later some of them, though it is never clear who, will be executed. From the outset it should be said that though a piece of theatre God on Trial is not really a play. It is best described as an emotionally charged philosophical discussion that seeks to comprehend the incomprehensible. It tries to work out the finer points of theology, metaphysics, morality and man’s relationship with His maker in the spiritual wasteland of the Holocaust.

It manages to ramp up the philosophical stakes with a concluding thought that strikes the stomach like an avalanche.

CUADC’s version of God on Trial is an earnest one. The set is minimally designed and the costumes and music are all strikingly simple. This leaves the production entirely in the hands of the actors. This pays off but only at times. The performances run the full gamut from the weirdly pantomimic to the genuinely sublime. Justin Blanchard as Mordechai is wonderful. Understated and gaunt, he manages to make his character more than a cipher and brought tears to my eyes in his final scene of thwarted sacrifice. Tom Walter as Schmidt is also good as a man whose calm idealism looks increasingly perilous, while Yasmin Freeman as Baumgarten puts in a touching turn as the judge, an ex-anti-Semite thrown into the camps who still believes in order. Some of the portrayals however shade it must be said into Fiddler on the Roof territory and consequently raised a few unintended smiles in the audience. Accents were sometimes comically strong and the shouting sometimes comically melodramatic.

But the play remains strong despite. As it hurtles towards its climax one worries that it will somehow capitulate, that the play will suddenly go one way or the other, that it won’t continue its high wire act right to the very end. Not only does it avoid this but it even manages to ramp up the philosophical stakes with a concluding thought that strikes the stomach like an avalanche. An interesting side note to the play is that references to a possible future state of Israel seem shot through with a contemporary significance which if anything makes it even more morally complex.

Overall God on Trial is for the most part solidly performed, both straight and sincere and it brings home its moral insight with terrific and terrifying force.  

Reviews by Rory Mackenzie

Pleasance Dome


Pleasance Courtyard

Girl from Nowhere

Gilded Balloon


Pleasance Courtyard

Boris: World King

C venues - C nova

Some Thing New

Pleasance Courtyard



Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

As a group of male Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz concentration camp wait to discover their faith of either hard labour or death, they decide to put God on trial. The charge is that God has broken the covenant made with the Jewish people by allowing the Nazis to commit genocide. The prisoners put forward their arguments and fundamental questions are raised concerning religion, morality and the purpose of human existence. The journey to a verdict leads us through the Jewish faith and the personal experiences of the prisoners: reason and emotion collide.

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets