Guy Masterson – CIT, in Association with Smokescreen Productions. Bakehouse Theatre. 5 Mar 2018
He regains consciousness on the beach. There is a woman there. No, she has not rescued him.
Awkwardly communications are established, neither character willing to reveal their identity to the other.
But the mystery woman gains the upper hand, bit by bit drawing his story out of him until it absolutely erupts in a torrent of terribleness.
For he is “The Death Angel” of Auschwitz, the monster Dr Mengele, the Nazi SS doctor whose ruthless mass experiments on Jewish prisoners were among the horrors of the Holocaust.
She, on the other hand, is Azra'il, the Jewish Angel of Death.
This is the third of Guy Masterson's Lest We Forget series running at The Bakehouse. It is performed by Tim Marriott from England and an Adelaide actress called Stephanie Rossi. She has stepped in for this Fringe season and, with only five rehearsals, she has established a commanding characterisation.
It is impossible not to study her as she parries lines on eugenics and euthanasia.
She is an actress with beautiful composure and focus, not to mention a lovely voice for both speech and song.
Mengele is a piece of theatre as gruelling as it is gripping.
It’s very artfully written to give a sense of tension and expectation. Marriott commits his all to delivering the vanity and pure ugliness of the man, one of the world’s true psychopathic narcissists, a man who chose who would live and who would die as they arrived at the concentration camp, who experimented on victim’s eyes, who removed organs from babies without anaesthesia.
Azra'il patiently elicits much of this information, leading him on through a remorseless confession, before she reveals her identity and raison d'être. Then she gives him a bit of his own medicine by using her angel superpowers to symbolically whip him into agonised submission before committing him to death.
In fact, Mengele escaped justice. He died in 1979 by drowning in the sea in South America after many years of freedom. The play’s ending of spectacular supernatural revenge feels like a Mossad dream.
It is questionable but it feels good.
When: 5 to 17 Mar
Where: The Bakehouse Theatre