Chiaroscuro: A Kindertransport Story
Central Hall Studio
Sir Nicholas Winton, who died in 2015 aged 106, organised the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from Prague on the eve of the Second World War. They were destined for Nazi concentration camps so he saved them from almost certain death and kept quiet about his efforts for almost 50 years.
In Patty MacMullen’s warm and affectionate tribute, set in 1939 in Czechoslovakia and Germany and reaching out to England in 1988, historical drama is mixed with fiction to tell the story of 11 children on a “kindertransport” train who owed their lives to him.
The bespectacled London stockbroker, given a thick mop of grey hair, is played with a clipped English accent by Carson Petocz in this production by Hill Country Christian School of Austin, Texas, as part of the American high school theatre festival.
Winton’s Jewish origins are referred to in passing. He was born Nicholas Wertheim in Hampstead, northwest London to Jewish parents who had moved from Germany in 1907 and converted to Christianity, the faith into which he was baptised. The family name was changed in 1938.
Among the imagined “kinder” he helped, Jefferson Lind shines as the optimistic, long-trousered Alfons, looking after his slightly irritating younger brother Otto (Jackson Lind) and adored by the girls in the group, while Hunter Masters is admirably angry as the loner Paul.