Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Three women sit around a table. They eat. They could die. They could fit and foam at the mouth… but they try not to think about that. What they’re doing is a privilege. It’s an honour. They are Hitler’s tasters.
Trapped inside a small tasting room, three young women Anna (Kaitlin Page Longoria), Hilda (MaryKathryn Kopp) and Lisel (Hallie Griffen) patiently wait for their next meal. They are Hitler’s tasters, the honoured guinea pigs of their country, that test to see if Hitler’s food has been poisoned or not. They laugh, they joke, they dance. They do anything to take their mind off of things whilst they wait. Footsteps can be heard; the girls stand to attention as the door swings wide and the guards produce their next meal. The timer starts. Not long and they’ll know if they’re safe or not. They’re safe. This repeats three times a day, every day, and each day they wait for the worst.
Hilda is Hitler’s perfect German, with blonde hair and blue eyes, she is the ultimate patriot for Hitler’s cause. Turning against her own sisterhood, she reports innocent Anna to the guards, as she suspects she had been consorting with the enemy before the war. The next morning Anna has disappeared, only to be replaced by new girl Margot (Hanna Mae Sturges). The cycle starts again.
Based on true events, writer Michelle Kholos Brooks, beautifully depicts this twisted tale of honour and sacrifice for one’s country. The dynamic between the young women is refreshing to watch, as they bond over film stars, selfies and the traumatic times ahead. With the use of mobile phones, the play transgresses into the 21st century, allowing these historical women to resonate with the modern millennial. It’s a bold move, hindering the plays authenticity, but they make it work.
Unfortunately, the ending falls short, and I’m left wanting to know more about these brave women. What happens to them once they leave the room? How many young women, full of potential and life, had to sacrifice everything for this honour? It is an interesting Google afterwards, and I haven’t stopped thinking about these women since. It’s nice to know the war didn’t just revolve around men.
Make sure you check out this empowering, all female collective, whilst you’re at the Fringe. You can catch them in the Greenside - Olive Studio on Infirmary Street at 18:35 until the 24th August. Tickets for their show are available here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/hitler-s-tasters
Review by Amy Mawer