An remarkably moving drama

Gabrielle Dempsey (Eva) and Maggie Steed (Lil), Kindertransport
Gabrielle Dempsey (Eva) and Maggie Steed (Lil), Kindertransport

The Devonshire Park 
Theatre, Eastbourne

The Devonshire Park Theatre was very full for the first night of an extraordinarily moving play by Diane Samuels, Kindertransport.

It follows the story of a nine- year-old German girl who is evacuated to England in World War Two and links with her English family decades later.

To explain the link would spoil the storyline and take away the pathos of the evening but this is a play worth seeing if you enjoy first class drama.

Gabrielle Dempsey gives a brilliant performance as the young evacuee Eva, who visibly matures from a terrified young girl to a teenager and it makes you wonder what happened to all the other evacuees when the war ended.

Her German mother Helga is played by Emma Deegan, who also gives a first class performance.

Janet Dibley plays Evelyn, the English mother who, decades later, is saying goodbye to her own daughter Faith, played by Rosie Holden and both give excellent performances.

The link between the two families is Lil and special praise has to go to Maggie Steed, who was playing the part for the first time in Eastbourne having taken over from Paula Wilcox, but she played it as if she had been doing it for weeks.

The other link between the families is the Ratcatcher played by Paul Lancaster.

This is a deeply moving production that tells the story of love and loss,past and present with a superbly written script. The action takes place on a great set designed by Juliet Shillingford and the direction by Andrew Hall is first class as the action switches from past to present on the same stage.

It is a drama that will make you think and give you a moving insight into the relationship between mothers and daughters in any decade.

Don’t miss it as it will tear your heart strings.

By Amanda Wilkins