Diplomacy: a theatre review by Hila Tsor

July 3, 2019 by Hila Tsor
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After its first sold-out session the political thriller, ’Diplomacy’, is back for an encore at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre.

John Bell in “Diplomacy”

The order to destroy Paris was given by Hitler but not followed through. While everything was set in motion to burn, Paris nevertheless survived.  

This play explores the story behind how Paris survived – the miracle of diplomacy taking place in a hotel room. 

With theatre legends John Bell (playing General Dietrich Von Choltitz) and John Gaden (playing Raoul Nording, the Consul General of Sweden in Paris), it’s clear to see why the play was back for round two. The actors are a lethal duo with clear chemistry, witty lines and completely contrasting characteristics which make for great theatre. 

Bell does a good job of displaying the multilayered personality of his character. Firstly, Von Choltitz is dehumanised by describing his previous horrid acts of destruction with almost casual confidence. Yet, his humanity is bought back by portraying him as a man who clearly loves his family and wishes to protect his troops. This complex building of characterisation was masterfully crafted in a constrained time period.     

Nording is the complete opposite, almost impossible to describe. Witty and persuasive, his convincing personality and nature were interesting to watch. 

While the acting was fantastic, the play’s downfall was its lack of climatic energy. Rather, it was performed on a flat note throughout, as it was an ongoing dialogue without build-up.

One for fans of history – the acting doesn’t disappoint. 

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