Into That Darkness review – Gitta Sereny’s study of evil is chilling on stage

[From The Guardian]

In 1970, after being convicted of the murder of 900,000 people, Franz Stanglagreed to a series of interviews by Gitta Sereny. The writer wanted to know how an ordinary Roman Catholic police officer drawn into the Nazi war machine could rationalise a crime of such magnitude. In this gripping adaptation of her book, the answer turns out to be distressingly mundane.

Played by Cliff Burnett, hair slicked back, buttons fastened neurotically to the top, the commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp spends a dense and demanding two acts trying to explain his complicity. An eminently reasonable man, he admits to having felt various degrees of distress as his career brought him ever closer to the dark heart of Nazi policy. The best answer he can give, under the measured cross-questioning of Blythe Duff’s interviewer, is that by focusing on doing a good job, he could blank out the horrendous moral implications of what that job was for.

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