Berlin is a captivating tale of romance, secrets and intrigue. Tom (Lachlan Hamill), an Australian Jew traveling abroad meets Charlotte (Georgia Latchford) in a bar in the German city. As they talk late into the night their stories gradually reveal dark pasts from which both are trying to escape; Tom with his survivor guilt after a car crash and Charlotte following her infant brother’s death. Through this powerful connection, tragedy gives way to intimacy as cultural boundaries start disappearing between them and love starts blossoming, with Ramones playing in the background.
The weight of history and tragedy presses in on the young lovers as they reveal more of themselves. They recognise that even their innocent lust is not immune to this conflict – Tom’s great-grandfather had already been taken by violence, a reminder that no escape can be found from pain and suffering caused by years before them.
The thought-provoking play tackles the challenge of remembrance, exploring how a traumatic past can have lingering consequences for future generations. Charlotte and Tom each carry their own grief; hers from living with the stain left by Nazism in Germany, his a burden of survival after its ravages. Love is challenged to triumph over history as legacy and trauma meet head on – creating an intricate dilemma that questions our understanding of inheritance and justice.
Tom’s character portrayal by Lachlan Hamill is highly impactful and convincing, just as Georgia Latchford’s depiction of a young and reflective aspiring poet is both nuanced and refreshingly naive.
Erica Chestnut’s thoughtful direction and the intimacy of the MC Showroom theatre gives the audience a real sense of being a fly on the wall, amplifying the connection between Charlotte and Tom. Stumbling blocks notwithstanding, the chemistry between the two characters is sweet and, at times, cheeky and quite humorous.
Berlin plays at MC Showroom until 30 April.
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