Review: Incident at Vichy, at King’s Head Theatre
Arthur Miller's examination of the Jewish experience Nazi-occupied France – brought to life by director Phil Willmott and a talented cast 12 male actors - is full of rage, disbelief and shame
16 June, 2017 — By Sipora Levy
Henry Wyrley Birch and Timothy Harker in Incident at Vichy. Photo: Scott Rylander
UNSEEN in London for 50 years, this unfamiliar gem by Arthur Miller is a blistering examination of the Jewish experience in Nazi-occupied France.
In the detention room of a Vichy police station in 1942, nine men and one boy are picked up for questioning, but none is told why.
As each man is removed for interrogation, hope turns to despair and the tension rises. Slowly it dawns on them what is happening, and fear and paranoia take over.
Following a sell-out run at The Finborough Theatre, Incident at Vichy is the perfect choice for the intimate setting of the King’s Head, where there is no escape from the unfolding tragedy.
Director Phil Willmott and his talented cast of 12 male actors bring Miller’s vision to life and all are excellent.
Willmott has gone for an unnaturalistic setting, with a cramped all-white set.
The characters are archetypes, most of them have labels rather than names – Major, Gypsy, Old Jew – which heightens their alienation from humanity.
Arthur Miller was mostly known for illuminating the American experience in his plays. Written in 1964, Incident at Vichy was Miller’s first set in Europe.
The play is full of rage, disbelief and shame, with a hint of the possibility of redemption.
In a dangerous and volatile world, witnessing an increase in racist and anti-semitic attacks, this is a timely reminder of the challenges facing humanity.
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