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The White Rose by Ross McGregor at the Jack Studio Theatre

The White RoseBased on the true story of Sophie Scholl, The White Rose is the Arrows & Traps Theatre company’s latest production. Scholl’s story is an incredible one, a 21-year-old who managed to help lead acts of civil disobedience during Nazi Germany.

It’s not a surprise to see stories of civil disobedience and resistance permeating the theatre scene at the moment; it is a sign of the times. The White Rose is a particularly provocative and poignant example of just such a story. Ross McGregor has directed another quality production, a solid execution of both the terror and inspiration of Sophie’s life.

Odin Corie has designed a clever and beautiful set in such a claustrophobic space, complemented by Ben Jacobs’ lighting design, to convey both the warmth of Sophie’s life and the harsh interrogation of her arrest. Movement
plays such an integral part of the Arrows & Traps experience, and there are times when the bulkiness of the table feels like it should hinder the actors, but it doesn’t. The clever transitions from memory to interrogation are seamlessly performed and very effective.

The cast are generally strong, though highlights include Conor Moss as the very likeable Alexander Schmorell and Christopher Tester injecting plenty of crisp twitchiness into his turn as the Gestapo interrogator Robert Mohr.
Scenes of the entire cast together having fun, being playful, are amongst the most effective.

There are a few issues – primarily with the length. Final scenes of Sophie despairing over her impending death are very drawn out and a little over the top, and don’t really seem to feel in line with the rest of her words and actions preceding. The final scene depicting the group together is a little too cheesy, as a point is driven home a little too forcibly – the lightness and easiness of preceding group scenes would have been more touching. The use of a narrator right at the end, ‘remembering’ the plot of Sophie’s life, is also a jarring addition and did not feel quite necessary. Finally, the play is interspersed with long sequences of real footage of Germany during Nazism, and some of this could have been cut down without losing effectiveness.

Regardless, there is plenty to enjoy in this emotional story; Sophie is distinctly human, despite the incredible nature of what she did. This is by far the most compelling and exciting aspect of this production, which approaches a tough subject matter with seriousness, respect and a strong sense of optimism – a feeling that can often be missing from commentary about humankind today.

3 Star Review

Review by Christina Carè

Based on a true story, The White Rose recounts the final days of Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old student, who led the only major act of German civil disobedience during the Second World War. Sophie, along with her brother Hans, published underground anti-Nazi leaflets calling for the peaceful overthrow of Hitler.

This timely and provocative play tells her story and explores the role that German citizens played in the rise of Hitler. This play examines the moral strength and courage that led a group of young people to risk their lives for a righteous, dangerous cause. This production marks the 75th anniversary of Sophie Scholl’s execution.

Seven-time Off West End Award Nominated Arrows & Traps Theatre return to the Jack after their sold-out run of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.

The White Rose Listings Information
Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London, SE4 2DH
Box office: www.brockleyjack.co.uk or 0333 666 3366 (£1.50 fee for phone bookings only)
Dates: Tuesday 17 July to Saturday 4 August 2018 at 7.30pm.

Author

  • Christina Carè

    'Christina is just another Aussie in London, writing about the arts and signing up for all the weird performance productions the city has to offer. She is Content Editor at Spotlight and tweets from @christinacare.'

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