Reviewed by Tony Annicone
The current show at The Players, is "Kindertransport". It is a memory play about a little girl who escapes Nazi Germany by train in January of 1939. The show uses flashbacks to tell its tale of a mother hiding her past from daughter. The action takes place in an attic in England and in the hidden thoughts of the grown up girl. Director Joan Dillenback leads her performers in this emotional play which results in some very good acting by her cast.
Although the writing of the show is choppy and uneven at times, making the transitions jarring to the audience, the wonderful acting overcomes these obstacles to deliver its strong message to the crowd. Mya Sherman as the young Eva is excellent in her role. She uses a perfect German accent throughout the show and displays an enormous talent beyond her years. Mya's line delivery runs the gamut of emotions and her interaction with the other characters is superb, too. Her German mother, Helga is played by Carol Schlink. She brings the necessary warmth to the scenes with the young Eva and the proper hurt and anger to the later scenes with the older Evas. Carol shows the hurt and wounded pride of the woman who survived the concentration camps beautifully, bringing tears to your eyes at her daughter's refusal to go with her to America.
The current day scenes reveal Eva's secret past to her 20 year old daughter, Faith. Tara Beaulieu, with an excellent British accent, plays her scenes with great energy. Whether she is berating her mother or demanding answers from her grandmother, Tara shows the emotional underpining to discover who she really is. Marcia Layden as Lil, the grandmother and Eva's adopted mother, commands the stage in her scenes. She is tender and warm with the young girl to help her adjust to England and she is stern with her when she needs to be, too. Marcia is a marvelous actress who brings the depth needed to make Lil come to life. She handles all her roles in a professional manner and is always a joy to watch on the stage.
The most difficult role in the show, Evelyn, is played by Linda Monchik. She has to be cold and aloof to her daughter but finally has to confront her past and admit she wishes she'd been left in Germany with her parents. The confrontation scene between Helga and her grownup daughter is the most dramatic one of the night and Linda and Carol handle it very well. The 15-17 year old Eva is played by Caitlin Amirault in her first performance with Players. She handles her scenes with Marcia and Carol with the right amount of strength to convey her feelings during them. Rounding out the cast is Richard Wilbur as the Ratcatcher, a German type Boogeyman. He plays multiple roles in the show including a Nazi soldier and a postman bringing some comic moments to this heavy show. So for a chance to view some excellent acting, go see "Kindertransport", at Players. Call hard working stage manager, Lydia Matteson for tickets or information on how to join this theatre club.