Review | Kindertransport | The Opera House, Manchester

Review | Kindertransport | The Opera House, Manchester


Giving an insight into the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters pre and post WWII, the award-winning Kindertransport written by Liverpool playwright Diane Samuels comes to Manchester’s Opera House.


Kindersport was the name given to trains carrying nearly 10,000 mainly Jewish children out of Germany and Austria to safety in the nine months before the outbreak of WWII.

Many of these children traveled to Britain, an, in this case, moved to Manchester to be taken in by families and most likely never to see their parents again.


Using the set of an open attic, the focus is on the storytelling and actors themselves. By using minimal set and more hand props, it adds to the theme of the children not being allowed to take much with them and leaving their lives behind them. The set enables the action to move from pre to post war quickly and seamlessly.

The first action is in Germany 1938, where a desperate mother is forcing her nine-year-old daughter Eva to sew on her buttons, and pushing her onto a train to England, sending her out of danger and into a world where she has to fend for herself.

Decades later, in England, a reluctant mother is preparing for the separation of her adult daughter, Faith, who is ready to leave the nest.

The play highlights the bittersweet experience that every parent faces as they try to teach their child to survive independently. Whatever decade they are in, they all have the same parental feelings that unites them.

It’s so beautiful to see a play with so many strong female roles, and there is only one male character in their show.


Jenny Lee (Hollyoaks) steals the show as Lil, the caring grandmother who shelters the evacuee. Her comic timing brings light to a seemingly dark story.

Suzan Sylvester (Streets of Yesterday and EastEnders) is the unbending mother Evelyn, who is in complete denial of her history.

With the tough task of the nailing a German accent, while capturing the sweet innocence of a nine-year-old who’s gone through so much, Leila Schaus is terrific as the young Eva. The moment where she suddenly grows up into a woman is gorgeous to watch.


The compelling show premiered in London in 1993, being seen worldwide and now suggested to be a school reading.

A creative piece of theatre that will educate and leave you feeling a bit choked up.

Kindertransport is at the Opera House until Saturday, May 5th, and tickets and information can be found here.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.