FRINGE THEATRE – Eleanor’s Story – Tandanya – 5K

1064688_135350_aBy Peter Maddern

Ingrid Garner’s grandmother, Eleanor, was still a child when World War II broke out. She and her family were on en route to Berlin from New Jersey when war was declared and this simply terrific play tells of those days.

It is an, at times, harrowing story with some resonances of the Ann Frank diaries – a young girl with normal fantasies and thoughts caught up in adult misadventures. And like Frank, Eleanor’s story captures a predicament that only gets worse and more desperate as, in this play, Berlin becomes the epicentre of the final stages of the conflict. Unlike Ann Frank, this account ends happily.

Ingrid Garner has adapted her grandmother’s award winning autobiography and delivers her version with stunning aplomb. Her work is mostly aided by images (I assume authentic) of her grandmothers’ home in the US and the blighted scenes of Berlin as well as audio of war. Together we are convincingly taken from an idyll in a spacious yard in New Jersey to cradling a young German soldier in his final moments and hiding in cramped attics as the Russians roam outside.

This is masterful theatre and as good as any you will see – not just this Fringe but any time. While some technical sound glitches affected my show, they could not detract from this compelling production. Audio and visual adornments are common place in 21st century theatre but not necessarily well used. Here they round off a gripping yarn and through the performer’s great talent and familial connection you are compelled to reflect on how lucky we are in this country today.

Kryztoff Rating   5K

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