Under the Skin

Two parallel time periods of 1944 and 1991 create a story little known to the public, but none-the-less, one that suggests a need for love in the cruellest places. With even the characters questioning “How can one love someone in such hell”, the all-female cast present the ghosts of past and present. Kohlmann was a guard within Nazi Germany who was said to have had relations with her female prisoners, and this play brings to light this beautifully shocking story.

This play brings to light this beautifully shocking story.

This Israeli play produced by Tik-Sho-Ret Theatre Company - which immediately became one of the top 10 must-see shows at Camden Fringe - will definitely leave you pondering what actually occurred in the darkness of the concentration camps. Similar to the loving relationship of the two boys in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas the Nazi officer and Jewish prisoner attempt to defy all circumstances in a bid to overcome the odds that have been unjustly stacked against them. While continually stating how deep the past runs in the blood of the ones left behind with "her DNA under my skin" the unnerving actions come back to haunt them.

With the help of different lighting states and the clear, separate garments worn in each time transition the play flows so easily. The movements between the two different time periods are as mesmerising as the acting itself, allowing the audience to never have to take their eyes off the stage or performance. Each movement through the time transitions is different to the last, and so the play takes a shape where you wish to know every next action and outcome. The background noise that is apparent from The Warren did not detract from the struggle of Lotta and her friend Eda, still allowing you to be wrapped up in the fright and affection that is felt throughout Under the Skin.

Reviews by Elly May

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The Blurb

'Under the Skin' tells one of the lesser-known stories of the Second World War. The play depicts the love affair between Nazi officer Anneliese Kohlmann and one of her female Jewish prisoners in Neuengamme Concentration Camp.  The play is based on the Belsen trial protocol of Kohlmann and on Holocaust survivors’ testimonies. It alternates between two time periods in order to tell the timeless story of a Holocaust survivor haunted by the ghosts of her past. One of Time Out's 10 Must-See Shows at Camden Fringe.