Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Diary of Anne Frank, Leeds Children's Theatre - 28th March 2015

In Memory of Anne Frank
June 1929 to March 1945

Leeds Children Theatre presents this poignant production of Anne Frank's memoirs.  Written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and adapted by Wendy Kesselman, Anne Frank, played by Maddy Miller, gives an introduction of her uneventful but happy childhood in Germany. Only for the Nazi party to come into power which enforced Anne and her family, being Jewish, flee to neighbouring Holland.  Holland soon became a victim of the Third Reich and the family had no choice but to go into hiding.

Photo Credit:  Leeds Children's Theatre

The play takes place in the top floor of the office building's annex.  To ensure 'safekeeping' they had to stick to a strict curfew with making a minimum of noise during the day.  It is at night time the audience gets an insight into Anne Frank and her family and friends living in such extraordinary circumstances.

Anne's sunshine and optimistic personality is observed and so is her transition from childhood to womanhood.  She colourfully and enthusiastically records (and shares) her thoughts during that time.  Key characters such as the Frank and Van Daan families narrate thoughts at different stages during the hiding indicating the days ahead are getting harder more dangerous. More Jews join the families' hideaway including a dentist.

A slip and betrayal leads to consequences one fears to imagine and certainly happens unexpectedly! Only for Otto Frank, played by Christopher Balmforth, to confirm the dreaded truth.  The memory he has is Anne's diary.  Appropriately there is no curtain call at the end of the play; it offers the audience the opportunity to reflect the poignancy of the production based on a true story and the diary noting the events prior to the fate that changed the families lives forever.

An excellent production which is directed honestly and sensitively by Manda Lister and Michael Lockwood.  The performers ensure the spirit of Anne Frank and company will live on.  The audience present had the opportunity to view an exhibition of Anne Frank's life.  Further information about Anne Frank's life can be accessed via The Anne Frank Trust website.

Leeds Children's Theatre has been producing drama aimed at children since 1935. Further information can be found via its website.

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