From Socialist Voice, November 2010


A timely reminder

Reunion by Fred Uhlman at the New Theatre (East Essex Street), adapted for the stage by Ronan Wilmot, performed by Daniel Reardon; from Wednesday 10 November for three weeks.
     I remember on my first visit to Berlin, in 1996, I went to the Berliner Ensemble to see Bertolt Brecht’s truly gripping play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui performed by the company.
     Brecht formed the Berlin Ensemble on his return to the German Democratic Republic and wrote and directed for the company.
     The experience of seeing this amazing company perform their most famous play, which depicts the rise of Hitler from humble beginnings, was like seeing the Abbey Theatre company perform Seán O’Casey’s world-class classics Juno and the Paycock, The Shadow of a Gunman, and The Plough and the Stars.
     But seeing Brecht’s play in Berlin in German was exceptional, as here was a country and a world-famous theatrical company facing up to its grotesque historical past.
     Well, Reunion by Fred Uhlman is a story of Germany in 1932–33, where two sixteen-year-old boys meet at school, one Jewish, the other from an aristocratic family. It is a story of their friendship, while all the time the clouds of Nazism are gathering.
     Daniel Reardon tells this fascinating story, which still has resonances in today’s world. The last line in Brecht’s play is: “The bitch that bore him is in heat again.”

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