EdFringe 2018 Review: Mengele

Rating: ★★★★

Venue: Assembly George Square Theatre - The Box 

Like several high profile members of the Nazi Party, Dr Josef Mengele - the notorious doctor of Auschwitz dubbed The Angel of Death - escaped post-war Germany, travelling to South America until his death by drowning in 1979. Tim Marriott and Philip Wharam's play, Mengele (inspired by the novel Right to Live), picks up at this period and attempts to capture Mengele's twisted logic and expose the self-righteous hypocrisy that lurked by his beliefs and actions.

Mengele (Marriott) is washed up on a beach in Brazil in 1979 and shown kindness by a young woman, Azra'il (Emma Wingrove, followed by Stefanie Rossi 7th-26th). Mengele's discussions with Azra'il reveal his sociopathic logic and provoke uncomfortable realisations about human nature.

Praise is due to Wharam and Marriott for delicately handling the subject matter in a complex and sensitive manner - evident in the research the pair did with the Holocaust Educational Trust. This is a Mengele that is not a raving stereotypical villain, he's eloquent and incredibly human - something which Marriott noted post-performance that was integral as a means of showcasing the potential for destructiveness in the most human of people. Split into three acts, separated by archive and cinematic footage of concentration camps, Mengele confronts these horrors head-on and does not shy away from the harrowing consequences of Mengele's actions and the theory of eugenics.

The narrative of Mengele is comprised of calm discussion between Mengele and Azra'il - with Azra'il's quiet questioning and Mengele's self-righteous justifications providing a compelling and thought-provoking viewing experience. Menegele's entrapment in his own hypocritical logic as the play progresses leads to a fiery final act in which Marriott and Wingrove's stellar performances soar to new peaks.

In a world where holocaust denial continues and concerning right wing voices gain further publicity, plays like Mengele which capture the destructive power of humanity are hugely important.
Theatre Review 1221785583059223907
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