The Edelweiss Pirates

A touching piece of theatre, the young performers of Parker & Snell Youth Company have created an effective retelling of The Edelweiss Pirates and their struggle during the Second World War in Hitler’s Germany.

A very important piece of theatre at the Fringe that not only tells a story but informs all who watch of the horrors people went through daily in Hitler’s Germany.

The Edelweiss Pirates were a rebellious group of teenagers and children who opposed Hitler’s regime by writing and spreading pamphlets against the Nazi regime, as well listening to illicit music and mixing sexes on trips. This production portrays the true story of how some of its members hid those seeking asylum, whether Jewish or afraid to return to the front line, and the constant debate between the children as to whether their protest should follow a passive or active direction.

As the play goes on, the main discourse is interrupted by narrators, dotted about the audience seating, who fill in contextual gaps, either with stories of victims or the Nazis, or just explaining the events happening in Germany prior to starting the next scene. The narrators have clear voices and the effect of flash lights being shone on individual narrators as they speak while the rest of the auditorium is in the dark is very powerful and draws the eye, clearly separating action on the stage from the storytelling style.

The actors are strong as they fully embody their characters and have good diction and projection. Samuel Turk (as Benjiman Dressler) and Joshua Moore (as Rutger Shriener) deserve a particular mention as their characters’ argument is tense and moving with stage fighting that is well executed and credible. Some performers’ line delivery feels a little stilted at key moments when discussing fear of the Gestapo. However, the use of monologues to tell individual stories as well as the story of the group is impressive and the actors have strong expression when performing, though some of the more intense emotions don’t quite come across with full effect.

This is a very important piece of theatre at the Fringe that not only tells a story but informs all who watch of the horrors people went through daily in Hitler’s Germany.  

Reviews by Caitlin Powell

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Germany, 1943. Small groups of youths form themselves into societies. Some just to listen and dance to banned music and be with like-minded teenagers. Others are becoming more aware that it is they, the youth of the country, who have to start resisting the Nazis in whatever way they can. One such group are the Edelweiss Pirates of Cologne – a group who have found the courage to say no, enough is enough!

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