Maureen Lipman hits back at claim her new show compares Jews to Nazis

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Maureen Lipman hits back at claim her new show compares Jews to Nazis

Veteran actress responds to critic's accusation that theatrical monologue 'Rose' is 'problematic', 'perpetuates stereotypes' and is a 'Holocaust survivor pastiche'.


Actress Maureen Lipman has hit back at claims her new one-woman play “demonises Israel” and draws false comparisons between the Jewish state and Nazis.

Lipman portrays an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor in a production of Rose at London’s Ambassadors Theatre. Her character’s two-and-a-half hour monologue charts Jewish history in the 20th century from the horrors of the Nazi era to the establishment of Israel until almost the present day.


In a scathing review in the Jewish Chronicle, critic Jonathan Sacerdoti writes that it is surprising to see Lipman “supporting a play that invests so much dramatic capital in the outdated notion that Jews kill children” and that the play “relies on an unforgivable comparison between the IDF and the Nazis”.

Referencing the first act, where Rose is sitting shiva for a child, it’s initially unclear who she is in mourning for. Sacerdoti observes that while we “hear about her own child, shot dead in the Warsaw ghetto… she only delivers the punch near the end of the play: she is mourning a Palestinian child, shot in Israel by her zealous Israeli grandson.”

He goes on to accuse the show of “perpetuating the same stereotypes and political manipulation that have historically led to our persecution – before, during, and since the Holocaust”.

Lipman responded: “I note that the JC has taken on a destroyer critic hoping to elevate himself to the ranks of ‘the Butcher of Broadway’. Where to start to critique his critique? He is wrong on so many issues. Let’s take one. The notion of ‘Jews should be better than anyone else’ is denied by two of the protagonists in Rose’s debate. This is a debate not a cancellation like the JC review.

“The reviewer is right to point out one thing. I was wise not to take the part 25 years ago. I was right because it is such a perfect choice today when I am the right age, a bit wiser, a bit tougher and  merely amused by your intentionally provocative review. See you on the way down.”

Jewish Newsreview of the play credits Lipman with painting “a vivid picture of life in the cramped Warsaw ghetto where they lived 12 to a room” and that Rose’s “content and observations remain uncomfortably relevant.”

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