Angel Review - A Holocaust Inquiry

 

ANGEL is the true story of Irma Grese, the Angel of Auschwitz, as constructed from trial transcripts and through the eyes of one victim. This is the tale of the beautiful and uneducated teenager who becomes the chief guard  for 38,000 female prisoners while an SS officer, as well as the  mistress of Dr. Josef Mengele - all in the space of three years - and her trial as a war criminal in Luneberg, Germany in 1945. She carried a whip in her boot, and prisoners considered her the most sadistic of their guards; she seemed to enjoy torture and sending prisoners to their death.

 

 

Angel - Lizzie Worsdell - Photo by DayrlJim Photography

 

The “Angel of Death” (Lizzie Worsdell) is defended in the military tribunal by an officer (Elliott Mayar) who has little real interest in the trial and knows the outcome before the verdict: “As civilized men, we never look directly at the wreckage we create...evil can be quite appealing sometimes, especially when packaged the right way.” The prosecutor (Michael Bucklin), who is tasked with the job of outlining Angel’s multiple atrocities, begins to see Angel’s youth and inexperience as affecting her behavior in the camps. She is the child of a zealot who has beaten religion into his children and then disowned his daughter because she disobeyed his wishes and became a sinner. The prosecutor is torn between the heinous nature of her acts in Auschwitz and Belson concentration camps and his grasp of the social pressures which she endured from her family and society. Enter Dr. Mengele (Stephen Tyler Howell), a dapper and sophisticated man who knows how to manipulate others. While the two wait for another “shipment” in the constantly arriving trains, they share philosophy and views - and some sex too.

 

 

Angel - Cast - Photo by DayrlJim Photography

 

ANGEL is a gripping account of post-Holocaust history and delves into motivations that may have accounted for some of the behaviors that emerged in the concentration camps. In a turn-around in the second act, the victors are put on the stand to defend themselves for refusing to accept Jewry into their countries before the war. No one is safe in this drama.

 

 

Angel - Lizzie Worsdell and Stephen Tyler Howell - Photo by DayrlJim Photography

 

Each cast member delivers a powerful performance, and they work well as a team. The setting is stark, with two desks and a stand in the center, and the lighting is dim. The stage carefully reflects the cold and barren atmosphere surrounding the painful subject matter.

 

 

 

ANGEL runs Saturdays at 3 p.m. through October 24, 2015 at the Crown City Theatre located at 11031 Camarillo Street, North Hollywood, CA 91602 (on the campus of St. Matthew’s Church).  Tickets are $30 (general admission) and $20 (students and seniors). For further information and tickets, call 818-605-5685 or go online at www.crowncitytheatre.com.

 

 

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