Stephen Unwin’s new play is set against a forgotten chapter of the Holocaust: the murder of disabled children and young people. More…
A terrible crime is taking place in a German clinic for disabled children. The perpetrators argue that it will help struggling parents and lift the financial burden on the mighty Third Reich. One brave voice is raised in objection. But will anyone listen?
The persecution, sterilization, and murder of hundreds of thousands of disabled people is one of the most overlooked chapters in the whole ghastly history of Nazi Germany. Between 1939 and 1945, it is estimated that well over 200,000 people with a wide range of disabilities were dismissed as Lebensunwertes Leben (‘lives unworthy of life’) and systematically killed in six converted psychiatric hospitals across Austria and Germany. Public opposition to the program was limited. The most striking intervention came from the Bishop of Münster, Clemens von Galen, who will be played by John Glover.
“Acted with care and vicious depth, I was glad I went to see ‘All Our Children’...to witness the unfolding of this horrific story, and the love that rises up from it...The play reflects the fanaticism, the persecution of those not like us, that is happening right now in our own backyard. Horrifying to think we have the capacity for such hate and single-mindedness...This is not an easy play to watch as it will tear at your soul, but it is well, well worth the watch.” Full Review
"Manages to both impress, captivate, as well as entertain...Experienced playwright Stephen Unwin has smartly provided all of the characters with clear backgrounds and personal opinions which become clearly identified as the play progresses...Ethan McSweeny achieves remarkable results directing this production in the round. It creates a marvelous juxtaposition, a sense of both intimacy and appropriate uneasiness of the subject matter...This is an unflawed production in every way." Full Review
"In a concise 90-minutes Mr. Unwin’s masterful writing expertly blends exposition, documentary detail and drama...Director Ethan McSweeny's excellent work with the cast is matched by his accomplished physical staging on the four-sided playing area...'All Our Children' vividly dramatizes this chapter in history and subtly parallels the contemporary world scene with its depiction of a totalitarian mindset." Full Review
"Directed by Ethan McSweeny with a clear and steady hand, the tension grows and the sides are drawn, as truths are uncovered about the center and its mission, and the characters come to terms with their respective complicity and individual morals and conscience...A heartfelt tribute to the people who suffered and died, and to those who stood up, raised their voices, and bravely objected...'All Our Children' is a gripping reminder of the realities of the Holocaust." Full Review
“A powerfully performed production...Toward the end, ‘All Our Children’ loses its vital restraint and teeters into luridness, but until then it makes compelling, conventional drama. This is a play about the care that people, and nations, owe to the weakest among them. It is, at its core, about the sanctity of life. And while that may sound rooted in religion, the idea is far more basic.” Full Review
"Of the play’s various scenes — including the climactic one in which the Bishop of Münster, Clemens von Galen (powerful, pitch-perfect John Glover), confronts Dr. Franz — Lawrence's are the most nakedly and unreservedly emotional...It’s easy to understand why 'All Our Children,' which opened at Jermyn Street Theatre in London in 2017, has crossed to our shores. It’s timely and, at 90 minutes, written tautly." Full Review
"A drama that, unfortunately, is more valuable as a history lesson (…with contemporary relevance) than as consistently engrossing theater…As various horrendous facts are elicited, von Galen can do little but question the atheistic doctor's feelings, express his Christian empathy, note his disgust, and argue for the value of human life, all things that brook no dispute, regardless of one's religion. The result is a one-sided debate that, for all its implicit interest, barely catches emotive fi... Full Review
"A glimpse at a little-known part of the Holocaust. Unwin includes all the various perspectives...The result is a thorough look at the situation...The script could use a rewrite. The first half hour drags and doesn't make clear what is happening...The topic of doctors making choices about who gets to live and die is relevant in the face of recent headlines." Full Review
“Unwin’s modern-day morality play...It is Tasha Lawrence performance that is the heart and the soul of this piece...McSweeny's direction keeps the play moving, but it is really Savage’s set of piles of file cabinets that give us the clue of the numbers killed. I wished they had been used more. Unwin’s script brings our focus to this discrimination and persecution, but in my opinion not enough. I would have liked this play to tell me more.” Full Review
"The play is well-staged and intermittently powerful, but overly schematic, as the characters too often feel like mouthpieces rather than fully realized individuals...A fundamental problem is that...it is so one-sided that its emotional impact is stunted...’All Our Children’ captures the evil that can be done...and offers some riveting and chilling moments that are tempered, however, by issues laid bare instead of explored fully through character.” Full Review
"It is careful, well thought out, and surprisingly false...Von Galen is a fascinating figure -- both heroic and morally blind -- and somebody ought to write a play about him. Here, he is a figure cut from good German cardboard. Ethan McSweeny's direction is efficient in terms of pace, but his handling of the actors is notably uneven...Ostensibly a disturbing, provocative drama, 'All Our Children' is a wooden, obvious piece of work." Full Review
See it if you want to see an outstanding play about one of the terrible atrocities of the Nazis: the murder of disabled children. Stellar acting!
Don't see it if you do not have the stomach to hear about these terrible atrocities against humanity. But: it is a reminder for today that all life counts!
See it if You’re interested in seeing a play that does deep into the human spirit. Investing the dark underbelly of our world
Don't see it if You want to see light and happy. Not for you
See it if Broadway cast in highly compelling drama about a doctor at a clinic where children are being murdered during Nazi Germany. Raw emotions.
Don't see it if You're not in the mood for a 90 minute drama with superb acting. Highly watchable
See it if superb acting & production values, ideas explored & listening are your areas of theatre interest, intimate staging that you can't avoid, GO!
Don't see it if you're a fan of fascism, don't like listening or theatre itself, define entertainment as not questioning or making U feel uncomfortable
See it if you want to see a powerful drama that is tightly written and staged.
Don't see it if you prefer to avoid theater portraying man's inhumanity to man - even if the portrayal is done very well.
See it if You’re interested in a play that deals with man’s inhumanity to man this time the handicapped in a Nazi framework. Very intense!
Don't see it if You’re looking for light entertainment.
See it if The level of the acting, writing and historical depiction is transcendent in its subject matter. Truly devastating in scope.
Don't see it if you are living in moral twilight and unconcerned what is going on in the world today.
See it if You are interested in history, the topic of Holocaust and the moral struggle between what makes sense logically and what's right morally.
Don't see it if If you don't like immersive, intimate plays that deal with heavy, difficult topics.
See it if You want to be challenges with the idea what makes a life important, you want to see some great performances up close.
Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with Nazi or religious themes, or very intimate in the round settings.
See it if You have an interest in a little-known chapter in the Nazi history and/or interest in human drama that feels relevant in today’s world.
Don't see it if You are looking for a light comedy or a large production. This is an intimate production well done with strong performances by talented cast
See it if Reminder that people can still be decent despite rich incentives to be otherwise. I admit, this never gets old. Spiritually nourishing.
Don't see it if want a crafty/edgy/slick show; uninterested in others affected by the quest for Aryan supremacy; bothered that script barely mentions Jews.
See it if You appreciate great performances in theater, amazing work by the actors! You like plays based on history, specifically holocaust
Don't see it if You want to see something happy. This is a sad show, thought provoking and well done but no happy endings here.
See it if you want to see earnest, overall effective performances in a serious play. It is small scale, in a tiny theatre, but generally works.
Don't see it if you don't want to see a show about the Holocaust. Sometimes the script doesn't completely make sense. But the cast does their best.
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