Mengele is the gut-wrenching, cathartic tale of infamous Nazi, Joseph Mengele and his confrontation with the angel of death. Confused and afraid, Mengele - who has seemingly been washed up on a beach - thanks his mysterious saviour for pulling him from the inhospitable waters. This cryptic woman begins to interrogate Mengele, toying with him slowly, until eventually manipulating him into confessing his truly heinous beliefs.
The play starts slowly. Mengele, awash with confusion, is scared and alone. The audience, similarly in the dark, initially sympathise with this vulnerable, terrified man. Allowing the audience to sympathise with Mengele is essential because it humanises this monster, highlighting the fact that Nazis were ordinary people. Beautiful and haunting footage of the Holocaust is shown between acts. These harrowing images puncture the show periodically and act as an essential reminder of the horrendous realities of the Holocaust. The visual aids are incredibly well timed and very moving. Any sympathy felt for Mengele at this point is savagely severed, and the ending of the play is incredibly cathartic.
Slowly, as the play progresses, Mengele’s racism and misogyny rise to the surface. He begins fantasizing about his young and beautiful saviour, and spouting sickening racist hogwash between sentences. Increasingly dislikeable, his obsession with children - twins in particular - becomes increasingly obvious. The nauseating, despicable Mengele is brought to life by the incredibly talented Tim Marriott. His portrayal of this disgusting man is horrifyingly accurate; I found parts of the show difficult to watch because I was filled with such a raw anger. I was, however, disappointed that Marriott did not attempt a German accent when playing a character who was famously German. The enigmatic angel of death is played beautifully by Stephanie Rossi. Every line uttered is calculated, and it is evident she pulls the strings in every single scene, even if she has less to say. Poised and patient, powerful and calculating, Rossi is elegant and perplexing.
This poignant show brilliantly brings the horrors committed by Mengele to life. Respectfully done, it is clear how much the memory of Holocaust survivors means to the performers. This is a must-see show, as it excellently finds new ways to recount and educate people about the Holocaust. Most importantly, the show touchingly memorialises Ava Mozes - one of the only people to survive Mengele. May her memory be blessed.