Edinburgh Festival: Breaking the Silence (3 stars)

Whether to remember the past or move on to the future is the question at the heart of this intriguing exploration of the effects of the Holocaust on three generations of Jewish women.

When a medical student goes in search of her family history it soon becomes an obsession – one her grandmother, desperate to discover what happened to her relatives, is keen to feed, but which her mother is wary of. Is it really healthy or appropriate for a young girl to be getting a tattoo of a ghetto’s “logo” on her back?

Initially polished performances from the cast give way to overwrought outpourings as secrets are revealed and the family learns to bury their differences. This isn’t a subject that needs crying and shouting to emphasise its point.

It is a shame that a production which is at other times more thoughtful decides to go down this route, but while the pace sometimes suffers as a result there are moments of real tension and dramatic flair.

Can a balance be found between honouring history’s atrocities and not letting them rule our lives, the production finally asks? It’s a pertinent question worth considering.

Written for The Scotsman


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