Rose Blanche, Norwich

This unusual and chilling production places actors alongside puppets to tell a story about just a few of the cruelly abused “human puppets” carved out by Nazi Germany.

By MIRANDA YATES

Puppetry has long been respected, in therapeutic circles, as the art form best equipped for exploring harrowing events, but rarely has this power been so effectively exploited in public performance spaces.

This unusual and chilling production places actors alongside puppets to tell a story about just a few of the cruelly abused “human puppets” carved out by Nazi Germany.

Told through the eyes of Gracie, a woman in public denial of her heritage, the story is about an independent and quizzical child growing up in a town turned upside-down by the outbreak of war.


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A bare apron stage becomes a market square where little painted villages are positioned like chess pieces, and through which squeaky toy vans drive Jews to the death camps. Slowly and wordlessly, toy Jews are posted into miniature trap doors or swapped for bleached bowling pins, which are then piled solemnly on top of each other.

There is meaning here, but it doesn't need to shout to be heard and would unsettle without alarming younger audiences.

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Our current climate of fear and conflict cannot help but enable this production to pluck at the heartstrings.

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