JOHN NATHAN

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - THE­ATRE In­ci­dent At Vichy

Fin­bor­ough The­atre

EVEN WITH the sub­ject of Arthur Miller’s rarely seen play, and the paralysing fear ex­pe­ri­enced by his char­ac­ters, there’s a whiff of a joke about it. A gypsy, a psy­chol­o­gist, a waiter, an ac­tor, a painter, a Com­mu­nist elec­tri­cian, an Aus­trian prince and a busi­ness­man are not in a bar, but a po­lice sta­tion in Vichy France. Each has been plucked some­what ran­domly from the street.

The hope that this is merely a rou­tine iden­tity check be­comes harder to sus­tain when they are joined by an el­derly, bearded Jew. Even more so when a tense ex­change be­tween an of­fi­cious “pro­fes­sor of ra­cial an­thro­pol­ogy” and a world-weary Ger­man army of­fi­cer re­veals that the checks in­volve de­tainees drop­ping their trousers to re­veal whether they have been cir­cum­cised.

Writ­ten in 1964, this was Miller’s first at­tempt to take on the Holo­caust. Per­haps if he hadn’t be­come so well

Daniel Dowl­ing and Ed­ward Killing­back

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