'Inspiring' Warsaw Ghetto show opens for business
THIS weekend is the first for Imagine This, a brave musical set in the World War II Warsaw ghetto under Nazi rule.
Brave because of the subject matter, of course, which centres on a ghetto theatre troop struggling to stage a play about Masada, a legendary event from the year 73AD when hundreds of Jews chose death over Roman rule.
It's not easy to mix apparently mismatching ingredients like looming mass slaughter and catchy tunes and come out the other side with a winning show and without people making snidey "Springtime for Hitler" comments, but director Tim Sheader and producer Beth Trachtenberg have already convinced audiences of their ability to do just that.
"The reaction of the audience was unbelievable," says Trachtenberg of the show's recent trial period in Plymouth, before its switch to the New London theatre.
"People went to see the show two or three times, and sent notes to the theatre saying how moved they were by it.
"We were told that British audiences are not like US audiences and don't usually give standing ovations, but we got them! It is an incredibly inspiring piece of work."
Critics have been less effusive in their praise, but have mostly given top marks to the acting, music and direction, balking only at what some see as the sentimental treatment of a serious subject.
Wise to this kind of reaction, Imagine This people are keen to emphasise the show's authenticity of emotion.
"The Holocaust was very much in our home growing up," said Roy Litvin, who plays one of the ghetto actors. "There is an obligation for me to honour the memory of the family I lost in the Holocaust. The message is one of hope, love and courage."
LondonNet has half price tickets - down from £60 to £30 - for Imagine This and a £52 meal and show deal.
More on tickets here