Peter McGarry is an experienced,
independent professional theatre critic who has agreed to
review Talisman Theatre productions.
Peter is free to express his opinions for good or ill. The
Talisman Theatre has no control whatsoever over the content
of these reviews and will not comment publicly on what he writes.
The Diary of Anne Frank
There are no two ways about it - this is theatre transcending
The story of the ill-fated
teenage girl who became a victim of the evils of war is
truly universal and this production captures its every nuance
with a style and dignity which could hardly be surpassed.
Sealed off with her Jewish
family in a large Amsterdam house to elude Nazi captivity,
Anne Frank displayed the joyous optimism of youth in her
Her character is most poignantly
revealed in a pivotal scene in which she and a young male
friend look up to the sky and nature and a beautiful world
from their cramped and dingy environment. The mood is touchingly
realised here in the fine performances of Molly Ives and
Rob Redwood, the girl starry-eyed and optimistic, the boy
tentative, awkward and wondering.
Mary MacDonald's compassionate
direction savours such moments while pulling no punches
over the loud arguments that punctuate the plight of eight
people forced into a claustrophobic elongated nightmare.
A constant swirl of movement as the different characters
go about day-to-day living is remarkably achieved on a multi-purpose
set for which design and delivery credits go to Gus MacDonald
and John Ellam.
In performance, of course,
the huge weight of responsibility lies with Molly Ives (and,
on alternate nights, Scarlett Behl). Anne Frank's writing
gives the key - she might be downcast but never in despair.
Molly Ives on the first night portrays the sometimes hyper
ebullience and relentless idealism with great skill.
Around her is an ensemble of
richly developed family and friends displaying emotions
ranging between love, anger, fear and bluff humour. Michael
Barker superbly conveys the fragile control and ultimate
tragic awareness of Anne's father, Rosemary Gowers focuses
the quiet sensitivity of her mother, Chris Ives and Gus
MacDonald brilliantly depict the constantly rowing guest
As an illustration of how mankind
can respond to circumstances of extreme terror and deprivation,
Anne Frank's story has few equals. The final moments of
this production are a masterclass in suspense