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Taking Sides Poster

Taking Sides

Closed August 29, 2009

Ronald Harwood plays ... bring substance, reflection and genuine emotion to a West End drowning in a sea of sing-along fluff.

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Why See Taking Sides?


This is the core question asked implicitly and explicitly by both Taking Chances and Collaboration, which make up Ronald Harwood's critically acclaimed double bill. The two dramas examine the role of art and artist in totalitarian regimes. While being deeply gripping and thoroughly entertaining, Harwood's plays spark debate about music, politics and the moral responsibilities of and choices made by the individual.

In both plays Michael Pennington plays the protagonist. In Taking Sides it is the celebrated conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler. David Horovitch plays American Major Steve Arnold.


Based on a series of interviews between the great conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler and Steve Arnold, an American army major, Taking Sides is an investigation into the choices made by Furtwangler. The conductor remained with the Berlin Philharmonic during the Third Reich and was prized by Hitler as one of his cultural treasures. At the same time, however, Furtwangler helped many Jews escape Hitler's Germany. This is in fact historically proven.

After the war, however, the crude and aggressive Major Arnold, who had seen Belsen for himself and abhorred the Nazi atrocities, viciously interrogates Furtwangler's motives for staying in Germany and is determined to uncover evidence that the musicial master was a collaborator in the Nazi regime.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 20 May 2009

Opening night: 27 May 2009


May not be suitable for younger audiences

Run time

Not announced

Cast and Creative


Michael Pennington
David Horovitch
Isla Blair
Pip Donaghy
Martin Hutson
Melanie Jessop
Sophie Roberts


Produced by Chichester Festival Theatre, Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer for Nimax Theatres, and Duncan Weldon
Written by Ronald Harwood
Directed by Philip Franks
Design by Simon Higlett
Lighting Design by Mark Jonathan
Sound Design Soundtrack by Matthew Scott
Sound Designer John Leonard


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