One of the more unlikely liaisons to develop following the First World War was the one between Lord Baden-Powell and Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German ambassador to London.
Even though Hitler had banned the scout movement when he became chancellor of Germany, both the Führer and Baden-Powell firmly believed that if you could harness the youth of a country, then you could harness its future. Despite their differing motives, the Boy Scouts and Hitler Youth engaged in exchange trips several times before the outbreak of the Second World War.
In Taggart creator Glenn Chandler’s new play, which started life at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he draws on several well-documented events to shape his story. The Good Scout explores the physical and emotional conflicts faced by a pair of young British scouts, played with moving honesty by Daniel Cornish and Charlie Mackay. Clemente Lohr, as Nazi youth leader Gerhard, is quite terrifying, smiling his way through thinly veiled threats aimed at both his hosts and his colleagues.
Though he sometimes engages in dramatic shorthand, Chandler – who also directs – has a knack for rapid character development that doesn’t come at the expense of emotional engagement. There are obvious modern parallels and the use of gang-show sketches to lampoon world events is both entertaining and satisfyingly theatrical.