Posts Tagged Mussolini

Edinburgh Fringe 2010: HITLER ALONE

Hitler Alone ****

Venue 257

Interlingua, 29 Hanover Street

21-26 August

Reviewed by David Kerr

This year seems to be the season for one-man-shows about monstrous dictators. Choose between Mussolini at the Hill Street Thratre and his protégé and successor Adolf Hitler at Venue 28.

The scene is set in the doomed fuehrer’s bunker a few hours before his death as the Red Army battles for control of Berlin. The simple stage in a tiny room draws out that bunker-like sense of claustrophobia. In front of a huge swastika banner, sits a single chair and a small table on which sits a framed picture of Hitler’s mother.

Paul Weston’s Hitler rants and raves, then calms down for a bit as he recalls some of his triumphs and disasters. At times, Weston’s Hitler comes across as vunerable and human; the rest of the time as the demonic monster of legend.

Webster’s intense performance is chillingly mesmerising and even at times sympathetic as the Great Dictator walks out the door to meet his final destiny.

**** four stars

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Edinburgh Fringe: Mussolini: a one-man political farce *****

RGR Productions

Venue 41

Hill Street Theatre

5 – 30 August        TICKETS

The country is on the brink of bankruptcy and divided by a disastrous war. Parliament stinks and no-one knows what to do. Sound familiar? This is Italy in the 1920s. One man has the answer – unfortunately it’s Benito Mussolini; the devout socialist who invented Fascism.”

Ross Gurney-Randall portrays the former Fascist dictator of Italy as both a hunted and a haunted man as the Allies and partisans close in on him.

In turn he is bombastic and vainglorious when he thinks that the Italian people are unworthy of his great genius; or he is full of self doubt as he cowers from Allied aircraft. At times he comes across as an ineffective teacher of an especially rowdy class.  He recalls his early lifte, his commendation as a socialist leader by Comrade Lenin and his transformation from socialist agitator to Fascist dictator.

This powerful one-man-show gets right inside Mussolini’s head. The humour is dark but not forced as the depressed Duce recollects significant events in his life; the March on Rome, the murder of socialist leader Matteoti, his son-in-law’s treachery which led to his removal from office and his arrest and imprisonment on the orders of the King,

Gurney-Randall brings to life his mixed feelings about being rescued on Hitler’s orders, his installation as head of state of the puppet Salo republic and how his hand was forced to have his son-in-law shot for his treachery. Regrets?  He had a few as all his hopes and dreams came crashing down around him.  This fine play tells all.

Reviewed by David Kerr

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