‘Kanada’, Lying Lips Theatre Company

Tuesday, 13th March 2018

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The Lying Lips Theatre Company’s latest production ‘Kanada’ takes its name from the department that recycled the possessions of people arriving in Auschwitz. We follow the journey of Nikolai and Anya from the Walsaw ghetto to the death camp. I had grave misgivings about this production.  How could a small, young theatre company, without the benefit of public or private funding communicate the horrors of industrial scale evil?

The play’s creator, Moseley based Nathalie Bazan, understands that there is a large section of the population, particularly young people, who nothing about the Holocaust and is determined to tell the story through short scenes of exposition and drama. Rhiannon Skerritt is gives a moving performance as Anya, conveying fear, anger, vulnerability and strength, complimented by Liam Wadsworth as Nikolai.  The other members of this committed company each take on multiple roles, and are equally convincing as Nazis or victims. With minimal scenery and props, you are taken on cattle trucks and into Auschwitz.

In a small theatre space, Alan Booth, John Cleaver and Angus Villiers Stuart create real fear as persecutors. This play has been devised and performed at a flashpoint in Polish/Israeli history. In January 2018, Polish Politicians have voted for a law which makes it a criminal offense to suggest Poland bears responsibility for crimes committed by Nazi Germany.  The use of phrases such as “Polish death camps” is now a criminal offense, punishable by up to three years in prison or a fine. Israel’s education minister said on Monday he was “honoured” Poland had cancelled his visit to Warsaw because he refused to back down from condemnation of this legislation. The Chief Rabbi of Poland is trying to broker peace. Perhaps Ms Bazan has the subject matter for her next play.