Review – Lucie Pohl, Hi Hitler

Loud, fast, and funny

Lucie Pohl comedian actress
This must be one of the most energetic shows on this year’s Fringe. Hi, Hitler may be a one-woman act but it incorporates numerous Pohl family members, dozens of different characters, and more accents than it would seem possible for one person to cram into a hour-long story.

At its heart, however, are two nations. The German and American childhood of Lucie Pohl – who can trace her family’s ancestry back to Bertolt Brecht – has created an emotional, theatre-loving Hamburg chorus girl in the same body as a brash, speak-as-I-find New Yorker who raps and arm-twists in equal measure.

Pohl is just as comfortable in either part. A German Jew who, aged four, was fascinated by Hitler – and mistook the cry of “Heil Hitler” for “Hi, Hitler” – Pohl was uprooted to the US when she was eight years old.

Her Edinburgh show goes on to harvest every iota of her confused identity but this is no softly-softly voyage of self-discovery. Instead, Pohl is a smart-talking performer who imitates, and tackles adroitly, the eccentricities of everyone in her life from her circus troupe family to butch US immigration officials and bullying schoolchildren.

In doing so she covers a huge range of characters. They don’t all work but they are done with a passion and a gift for mimicry that sustains a high-octane show.

Looming above all the recreations of her friends and family, however, is that great figure from German-American relations, David Hasselhoff. Her appreciation of “the Hoff” is, she admits, “the most German thing” about her. But it is more than just a joke. Split between two nations, in which she cannot feel completely at home in either, the ex-Baywatch star is the man who helps her bridge the divide.

Pohl’s is a show about selfhood rather than pop music. She spends her hour trying to harmonise her divided culture life and her method of doing so – loud, fast and funny – allows her to carry it off with some style.

***½
Review by Peter Edwards

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