Kindertransport, written in 1995 by playwright Diane Samuels, is a play with two strands. First there is Helga in 1930s Germany, a Jewish mother who decides to send her nine-year-old daughter Eva to England on the train, away from the impending danger of the Nazi regime. Then there is the England of the 1980s, where a fussy mother and her petulant grown-up daughter discuss practicalities as she cuts the ties of childhood to leave the family home. As the play goes on, it becomes more clear how these stories are connected, despite years of distance between them.
In this production, the distinction between the two points in history was well handled, with efficient and effective lighting and set design to demarcate them. The set, made up of cardboard boxes, paper and suitcases, was simple in a clever way and the costumes were accurate and apt across the board. The actors moved smoothly from one time period to the next, showcasing their strong bond as a cast through a well-rehearsed delivery.
The acting was in general very committed, and Polly Mountain as English foster mother Lil stood out, for her emotional realism. Her lines were delivered with real empathy and intelligence. Thomas Perry as The Ratcatcher, a Nazi soldier and an English postman also shone, showing flexibility and versatility in his multi-roling. Some of the other actors tended towards melodrama in their delivery, which on occasion disrupted the arc of the storyline and got a bit tiring by the end of the piece.
This is a play with a very interesting story at its core, and here it was presented with care and assurance by Troika Theatre.