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H*tler’s Tasters

  • Theater, Comedy
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Hannah Mae Sturgesm, MaryKathryn Kopp and Hallie Griffin in Hitler's Tasters
Photograph: Courtesy Burdette ParksHitler's Tasters

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Theater review by Raven Snook

It's just another day of selfies, passive-aggressive banter and possible death by poison in H*tler's Tasters, a dark comedy inspired by the real-life young women in Nazi Germany who made sure that the Führer's food was safe to eat. Imagined as teenagers by Michelle Kholos Brooks, these Mein Girls have the clothes—and verboten American obsessions like Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra—of their era, but their tech and their stylized grrl-pop dance moves are decidedly up to date. Brooks's sly and disturbing meditation on the seductiveness of evil had earlier Off Broadway runs in 2018 and 2019, and some passages evoke bad moments from the Trump presidency. (When Hilda insists that "Jews cannot replace us," you half expect a tiki torch.) As history and headlines prove alike, tyranny is timeless.

With a high-ranking father in the Reich, alpha Hilda (a pitch-perfect MaryKathryn Kopp) has appointed herself a champion of Nazi genocidal groupthink, convincing innocent Anna (a devastating Kaitlin Paige Longoria) and peacemaker Liesel (Hallie Griffin) that their perilous forced vocation means they're the "chosen" ones. When one of the tight-knit trio is suddenly replaced by the inquisitive Margot (Hannah Mae Sturges), the dynamic shifts and they begin to confront the reality of just how disposable they are. 

Examining fanaticism through a cult of teenage girls is a clever conceit, and after doing the show on and off for four years, the performers share a moving and believable rapport. Despite Sarah Norris' well-calibrated direction, the play is a tough tonal dance—not every laugh line lands, and the interstitial movement sequences start to feel like filler. But these minor missteps don't undermine the play's power, or its message: For the insecure and disenfranchised, it's easier to swallow dangerous lies than to face the ugly truth.

H*tler's Tasters. Theatre Row (Off Broadway). By Michelle Kholos Brooks. Directed by Sarah Norris. With MaryKathryn Kopp, Kaitlin Paige Longoria, Hallie Griffin, Hannah Mae Sturges. Running time: 1hr 25mins. No intermission.

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Written by
Raven Snook


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