I, the Dictator

3 Stars

***

Set in 1939, two men with similar facial appearances are at the height of their powers. In Europe, Hitler’s armed forces are extinguishing democracy in the countries around Germany. In America, Charlie Chaplin is one of the most popular stars of the silent film era. He wants to make films with sound but he has difficulty financing such projects.

Teatr Wiczy from Poland depicts an unexpected dilemma that Chaplin faced. He receives an offer from Hitler through his representative Paul Mueller of finances to complete the film ‘The Great Dictator’. However he has to change how the film ends, obviously for propaganda reasons.

As the solo performer, Krystian Wieczynski, in a finely honed performance, uses a blend of styles including words, expressive action, tap dance and song to reveal Chaplin’s dilemma. Should he throw away his artistic integrity for profit? Thankfully, Chaplin chose to complete his masterpiece in his way. Of course Chaplin had a choice but in totalitarian regimes artists of stature face loss of freedom or worse if they displease their masters.

Reviewed by Ben

New Town Theatre: 7

4 to 28 August 2011 (not 15)

14.00 – 15.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 272

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