Kindertransport @ the Jewish Repertory Theatre in Buffalo, NY

Posted on February 5, 2024

THUMBNAIL SKETCH:  Diane Samuels powerful historical drama tells the story of how 9 year old Eva, a Jewish German girl, is sent by her parents on the Kindertransport to start a new life with a foster family in Britain just days before the outbreak of WWII.  Over 40 years later, she had changed her name to Evelyn, and denied her roots.


Kindertransport gives this wrenching story (and the some 10,000 like it) a decidedly human face.  Performances at the Jewish Repertory Theatre on North Forest Road continue weekends (less Fridays) through February 25th.   Saul Elkin directs a cast of six—some of Buffalo’s premier thespians.  The play, which takes place in a run-down attic in outer London in the 1970’s, runs just over two hours with its single, ten-minute intermission.

THE PRODUCTION:  JRT co-founder Elkin gets a lot out of this present production.  Charmagne Chi as Helga (Eva’s old world Jewish mother), and Elen Horst as Lil (her adopting British mother) both do truly exceptional work.  Also troubled Wendy Hall as Evelyn, and Rene Landrigan as Eva, her chirpy adolescent version. The second act builds to a very intense conclusion.

PRODUCTION VALUES are strong for this JRT show.  David Dwyer’s angular, rough-hewn, wooden attic set is intriguing. Director Elkin and the various designers all give us their usual high-quality work.

Ms. Samuels’ writing is fluid, and this fascinating, specialized look at the Holocaust ought to provide plenty of interest for audiences of all types.   History buffs in particular will want to catch this—Jewish or otherwise.

IN SUM: Both thoughtful and emotional, KINDERTRANSPORT gives many a look at the Holocaust that will be completely new to them.  I’d certainly make an effort to attend!