Last year, Badac Theatre caused a stir with The Factory, an uncompromising and immersive experience attempting to recreate the terror and despair of Jewish concentration camp internees, performed promenade style in a vaulted area of the Pleasance. It was a triumph of unflinching raw emotion and powerful drama.
This year, Badac return with The Devoured, a one-man show by the group founder Steve Lambert. Exploring the same territory, Lambert’s self-written performance is equally unflinching in the way it deals with the despair, hopelessness and hatred experienced by a Jewish father as he and his family are first moved to the ghetto, then to an internment camp and finally to their place of annihilation.
Using strong language and extreme physical performance, Lambert successfully evokes some of the futile hopelessness and fear of the situation, with a script that approaches performance poetry, filled as it is with repeated phrases and themes: “lies, lies, fucking lies”, “noise, noise, fucking noise” etc.
During a relentless scene in which he depicts the brutal torture and execution of some of the internees, some audience members depart, no doubt shocked and perhaps disgusted by the language and stylised portrayal of horrific scenes. But those that stay to the end of The Devoured will experience the full power and range of Lambert’s piece, which successfully meets its goal: that of exploring and exposing appalling acts of inhumanity and hate-driven crimes which still echo to this day.
The Devoured runs until Aug 31st (not 24th) at The Pleasance. £8.50 (£6.50 concession)