City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Schicklgruber… Alias Adolf Hitler, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 10 February 2013

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Stuffed Puppet Theatre Netherlands
Neville Tranter
Neville Tranter
Running time: 

On a stage backed by three dirty white screens and containing a series of draped figures, a dark clad jackbooted figure appears from nowhere and stands silently and ominously before the settling audience.

The atmosphere is instantly sinister. Australian born puppeteer Neville Tranter is the jackbooted figure and plays the part of Hitler’s valet, Heinz Linge, in this latest show from Netherlands based Stuffed Puppet Theatre.

We are in Hitler’s bunker and it is his 56th birthday. Eva Braun is there in her wedding dress, Goebbels is there with his crutch, Hermann Göring imposes himself with his big fat presence and Hitler’s mad eye is ever glinting. The unwanted guest is a skull - glittered nightmarish Angel of Death who makes appearances as a macabre cabaret act throughout.

Tranter’s puppets with their wide, split mouths, white faces and huge useless hands are brilliantly made, bearing a grotesque caricatured likeness to the grotesque characters they represent. Yet, in spite of the magnificent puppets and expert Tranter’s puppeteering and array of voices, this fitting mockery showed nothing new and the narrative was not substantial enough or funny enough for the 90 minutes that the show lasted.

In fact, it started to feel interminable and there were several walk outs, though maybe they had buses to catch. We all know how Hitler’s speeches were delivered, but the puppet character’s shouting was quite wearing after a while and the running joke of Joseph Goebbels perpetually forgetting his sixth child’s name quickly wore thin.

There was no poignancy in the depiction of the six children with Goebbels' son in Hitler Youth uniform looking like a pathetic ‘ageing juvenile’. This was an English production clearly about the last days of the German Fűhrer that had been well researched to provide details of the time and the unique situation yet the odd German word that was thrown in to the narrative seemed pointless. The promise of the look from these sinister figures was sadly not met.

Recommended 12+

Performance: 9 February at 19.30