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Kingfishers Catch Fire

From 23 member  reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Intense

About the show

Based on a true story, Monsignor Hugh O'Flahery and Nazi Herbert Kappler were enemies during WWII, and when they meet after the war, questions of responsibility and redemption rattle the cages.  More…

From the show:

It’s 1948 when Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty first visits the infamous Nazi Herbert Kappler in the Italian prison where Kappler is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. During World War II, the men were adversaries; Kappler was the head of the Gestapo in German-occupied Rome, and Monsignor O’Flaherty was using the cover of Vatican neutrality to shelter and arrange for the escape of thousands of Allied servicemen and Jewish civilians. Kappler placed a bounty on O’Flaherty’s head, but O’Flaherty evaded capture, earning the nickname “The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican.” When these two men meet after the war, profound questions of responsibility and redemption rattle the cages. Based on a true story, Kingfishers Catch Fire examines morality and personal culpability for actions taken during a devastating war.

Member Reviews (23)


Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Intense
Avg Score

Riveting, Clever, Profound, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if 2 hours flew by as if it were 20 minutes. I was glued to every word. Superb characters & dialog. Lots to think about afterward.

Don't see it if You don't want to be drawn into a conundrum about human nature and the relationship between man & God. Graphic descriptions of brutality.

Also By the end of the play, it is plain enough to see what the policeman l... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if historical fact-based drama. An imprisoned Kappler, former head of German police in occupied Rome, visited by the same Irish monsignor who *

Don't see it if don't want discussions about God, responsibility for war-time atrocities (following orders, being neutral, etc.); vivid descrip. of atrocity

Also *caused trouble for him by aiding Jewish and other prisoners... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Moving, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to hear a fascinating post-WWII dialogue between an Irish monsignor and a captured German officer. Based on an actual event.

Don't see it if you cannot deal with vivid, extremely graphic descriptions of wartime brutality.

Also The audience hung on every word uttered by these two talented actors o... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if You are interested in seeing two very different men discuss morality and culpability about staggering events in WW2.

Don't see it if You don’t like small productions, history, or graphic descriptions of violence.

Also This play is not for the faint of heart but I can’t stop thinking abou... Read more Read less

Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy contemplating the intricate battle between faith and redemption in a historic setting

Don't see it if You expect action and comic relief . This is a true story with nothing light going on . Expect to be challenged and moved.

Intense, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound

See it if a play based on the true story of a priest & an SS officer meeting to talk in a prison cell at the end of WWII intrigues you.

Don't see it if you prefer lighthearted plays to plays dealing with responsibility

Profound, Must see, Masterful, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if If you want to see opposing sides interact. A truly moving story about doing right from two perspectives.

Don't see it if You do not like serious drama stuff.

Intelligent, Intense, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if a fascinating exploration of good and evil, conducted solely through dialogue. It stays in my head, although i'm not quite sure what the

Don't see it if 2-man play re history, morality and religion, entirely dialogue, in a tiny theater, doesn't appeal to you. GRAPHIC descriptions of violence.

Also playwright intended or concluded about the events he depicts.

Thought-provoking, Masterful, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to question things you thought you knew as incontrovertible fact and like the intimacy of a two-person show

Don't see it if you are triggered by Holocaust mentions or male nudity

Riveting, Must see, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You are into two character intimate theater and fantastic acting!Also, theater based on a true story! Are you a history buff?

Don't see it if You are not into historical theater or two character dramas.

Absorbing, Relevant, Profound, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy plays about the horrors World War II.

Don't see it if If tales of man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man is distressing.

Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if want to see two exceptional actors in a well written play.

Don't see it if if you do not like small intimate dramas.

Long & chatty, Decent for off-off-broadway acting, Seriously claustrophobic theater, Fascinating true story

See it if are a Holocaust completist. Characters are real and interesting, but the playwright hasn't made a persuasive case for why to dramatize it.

Don't see it if are claustrophobic. You're asked to spend over 2 hours in a tiny room tucked away in a basement. Feels like a fire trap.

Thought-provoking, Must see, Intelligent, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if if you want great dialogue inspired by real characters & actual history; challenging perspectives; great debate around a painful incident

Don't see it if if you want fluff

Also i hope this show comes back and continues on. Fantastic. And when the ... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Like great acting, serious play

Don't see it if Don't like to hear about nazi atrocities

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see

See it if Like interesting well written play. Historic dramas. Plays based on real events and real people. Very good acting.

Don't see it if Not interested in history. Not looking for a serious thoughtful play.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if like true postwar stories about survivors confronting Nazis, getting into a Nazi's mind, asking why God let the Holocaust happen, redemption

Don't see it if don't like World War II aftermath stories, religious confrontations, enduring Nazi officer's self-loathing, static dramas mainly dialogue

During previews
Moving, challenging, exquisitely written, Thought-provoking

See it if being surprised by great writing, subtle but deeply moving acting in a work with truly tough subject matter is your idea of great theatre

Don't see it if the horrors of WWII and the Nazi's terror on many populations is more than you can bare; verbally graphic and based on a true incident

During previews
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Confusing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you are intrigued by the moral dilemma of action and responsibility.Not really clear what the authors point is but the journey is worthwhile

Don't see it if you are bored by two people having an intellectual and emotional conversation. Some of the later emotionalism seems awkward but it is apt

During previews
Intense, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if What a treat, to see two actors give a cameo performance in an intimate venue. The sobering issue of turning the other check and guilt hit U

Don't see it if Only see fluffy musicals and pedestrian comedies.

During previews
Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if a two person interaction with profound statements appeals

Don't see it if description of Nazi killing will disturb

Also Expertly acted with serious dilemmas to be made. A two-person play of ... Read more Read less

During previews
Resonant, Compelling, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Engrossing

See it if Enjoy plays based on historic events. Well-written conversation between protagonists draws you in and provides plenty to think about.

Don't see it if Not much on history. Prefer larger theaters over small, intimate setting of Irish Rep basement.

During previews
Exquisite, Clever, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like theatre that makes you think long after the lights go down -if you seek plays based on history especially ones lost to time.

Don't see it if If you get bored by plays that challenge the intellect and attempt to make sense of the senseless

October 5th, 2019
"‘Kingfishers Catch Fire’ Is a Thoughtful and Provocative Theatrical Experience"
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September 22nd, 2019
"Kingfishers Catch Fire Asks: Can a Nazi Be Redeemed? Robin Glendinning's world premiere is based on true events."
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October 4th, 2019
"Even if 'Kingfishers Catch Fire' -- the title is taken from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, that experienced explorer of spiritual thickets -- is less a fully realized play than a pair of powerfully written roles, it is filled with ideas capable of keeping one up at night. The war may be over, ...
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September 22nd, 2019
"Strikingly handsome and resembling a young Horst Buccholz, King impresses with both his intensity and his physical stillness when he's listening to the priest. It's a tricky role and if there's a reason to see 'Kingfishers Catch Fire' it's to see King and wish him another plum role in a better p...
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