Already closed

Luft Gangster

Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging
84
Critics
82
7 reviews
Members
84
16 reviews
 

Nylon Fusion Theatre Company presents this WWII drama based on the true story of U.S. Army Air Corps veteran Sgt. Lou Fowler, the cousin of playwright/star Lowell Byers.

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After bailing out of his crippled B-24 bomber under heavy fire from German forces, waist gunner Lou Fowler is captured by the Nazis. Incarcerated along with other Allied fliers in an inhumane Nazi prison camp, Lou has to heal his own battle injuries as his captors treat him as just another ‘luft gangster’—a term Joseph Goebbels coined as propaganda to convince Germans that all American flyers were criminals released from prison in order to fight in World War II. In a time and place where men on both sides of the war were stripped of all things civilized and reduced to the bare essentials of life, where a single slip of the tongue could mean death, Lou has to rely on his faith to make it out alive. Directed by Tony nominee Austin Pendleton.

 

Cast & Creatives (17)


Reviews (23)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
82
Avg Score

85
The Huffington Post

"Byers’ absorbing wartime drama...The story of Lou Fowler is vividly brought to life in 'Luft Gangster,' and directed with unflinching yet graceful flair by Pendleton...'Luft Gangster' becomes more riveting and engrossing as it progresses, slowly revealing its emotional center and taking great care in its character development...'Luft Gangster' is guaranteed to captivate the audience. The fact that it’s faithfully translated from a true story, however, really, shall we say, 'brings it home.'" Full Review

80
DC Metro Theater Arts

"Incisive direction of Tony Award winner Austin Pendleton...Authentic passages of dialogue in German, Slovenian, and Italian underscore the difficulty Allied soldiers had in communicating with the Europeans in their native tongues, contributing to their sense of displacement, alienation, and uncertainty. We feel it, along with the cruelty and fear, suspicion and camaraderie, dread and boredom, all embodied with credibility and depth by Byers and an excellent supporting cast." Full Review

80
Applause! Applause!

“This is a riveting and intense drama that reveals the tedium of being a POW and the different psychological and emotional coping mechanisms each individual prisoner uses to get through. The play builds in intensity and keeps the audience engrossed in the story and the ultimate fate of Louis ‘Lou’ Fowler, a United States Army Air Corps waist gunner on a B-24 Liberator, who was shot down in March 1944 during a routine bombing mission and held prisoner in Stalag Luft VI. Highly recommended!” Full Review

80
Off Off Online

“Austin Pendleton’s even touch as a director provides the right restraint and prevents the play from falling into melodrama and stereotypes…The depiction of both American POWs and Nazis is well rounded, and undercuts some of the broader stereotypes. Instead, the play unearths the subtler terrors the POWs faced in internment, such as the language barrier…Byers also draws the German officers as real people.” Full Review

85
Applause! Applause!

"This story latches onto your attention early and doesn't let go. The gradual building of intensity and the smooth introduction of various characters, actors, and settings draw the viewer into the life of the lead character, Lou Fowler, a United States Army Air Corps waist gunner, who was shot down and held prisoner by the Germans at Stalag Luft VI. The play keeps things engaging on a personal and dramatic level. Solid acting helps to create a sense of purpose for each character." Full Review

80
The Artswire Weekly

for a previous production “A powerful, moving, and even funny mediation on the horror of being a POW in WWII. The dialogue is natural and the scenes are thrilling, masterfully directed by Pendleton...The entire ensemble has standout moments, and every one of them brings a powerhouse performance…Yet for all of the good, there are a few bumps in the road...Even with a few abrupt moments in Act II (including an ending that is this close to working), it doesn't diminish the power of the play.” Full Review

95
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production “The script is solidly written, emotional, with both beautiful speeches and sharp episodic scenes, and it comes to life effortlessly under Pendleton’s solid, decisive direction and thoughtful, committed concept. Nylon Fusion brings together a stunning ensemble of talented, tender actors…The show is thrilling, seamless, and real. Go to 'Luft Gangster' and you will laugh, cry, and be impressed by the immaculate product of talented artists coming together under a clear vision." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
84
Avg Score

95
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great creative team!

See it if ..like WWII stories. Interested in a real POW's personal story that will lead audience into the harsh survival realities of Allied POW's.

Don't see it if U dislike war stories & bothered by cruel captive treatment. U dislike intense drama although there are funny moments-humor for survival.

Also This is a simple clear story of US airman Lou Fowler captured by the N... Read more Read less

83
Made personal as the real daughter of the protagonist was sitting in front of me

See it if a small, intimate true tale of war and capture appeals. Characters were real and distinct and I committed to their story. Think Stalag 17.

Don't see it if A black box theater with 7 playing many is not your favorite meal. You want to know more about the Luft Gangsta propaganda.

Also It's really a winning cast and the audience was very much a part of th... Read more Read less

92
Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you appreciate a well-written and directed play about WW2 with a superb cast. Bravo to Byers who wrote and performs in this chilling tale.

Don't see it if you only enjoy comedies.

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you're looking for a solid, well written and well acted drama about WWII.

Don't see it if no reason not to (oh wait except it's already closed and I'm a couple months late on reviewing it oops)

75
Ambitious, Epic, Intense, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if you like stories of WWII, you like a mostly male cast, you like to see actors act.

Don't see it if you want a comedy, you want a well-paced show, you hate actors.

82
Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting

See it if you like story about WW2 POW since its based on true story of Low Fowler. Great acting.

Don't see it if you dislike WW2 POW story, expect fancy props, big stage

75
Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if It's definitely a good topic to explore on stage. Real life father and son (who is also the playwright) act together

Don't see it if It doesn't feel "real" to me. The reality must be way grimmer than this.

70
Great staging, Conventional

See it if you want to see a fairly straightforward WWII play with well-defined linear plot and good (if not particularly inventive) staging

Don't see it if if you prefer more daring and out of the way productions

Also This is generally competently staged and acted but doesn't really have... Read more Read less

79
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you are a history buff, like WW2 war stories, and are a fan of simple stagings but masterful intense and funny acting

Don't see it if you're dislike war stories (although it's really about camaraderie and perseverance), or you can't sit through 1h40min without intermission

93
Absorbing, Ambitious, Must see, Resonant, Great staging

See it if You're looking to see a play based on true events in WWII. It really transports you to a different time and place.

Don't see it if I mean, if you have a taste for a tap musical tonight, maybe this isn't for you, but I believe we should all see this.

90
Absorbing, Intelligent, Masterful, Dated

See it if you want to see an excellent, unified show with a gripping story. Production company Nylon Fusion does their best work to date.

Don't see it if are afraid of WWII prison camp stories.

79
Great acting

See it if you enjoy WW2 plays. It delicately begins to humanize many of the players in this chunk of history.

Don't see it if you want a more provocative play, or a more intense portrayal of WW2 POW, it is much more sensitive than that.

94
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You would enjoy a true, entertaining and vulnerable story about WWII POWs.

Don't see it if You would prefer a Hollywood, macho story with explosions

83
Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant, Riveting, Great staging

See it if Like dramatic intensity on stage

Don't see it if You can't handle war and holocaust stories

85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You are interested in American History, World War II, and stories about survival against the odds.

Don't see it if Your are looking for a light musical comedy.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Entertaining

See it if you are a history buff, love non-fiction and/or war stories (WWII).

Don't see it if you want to see a lot of female characters.