Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank wrote arguably the most famous diary in history. It’s an extraordinary document of a thirteen year old’s hopes and dreams, written under unbearable circumstance. The play version follows the Frank family into the secret annexe in Amsterdam, whence they fled once the Nazi’s came to power in Germany. Now that Holland has been overrun, all Jews are being rounded up and sent to the death camps. The Frank family, and their friends the Van Damm’s take refuge and are sheltered by some friendly and courageous Aryan Dutch people. Patch Of Blue theatre has brought this difficult subject matter to life and our fortunate to have young actress Caroline McCafferey in the lead role. She is a bundle of energy, and captures well Anne’s effervescent personality, bursting to be free so she can do all the things she dream of. Unfortunatley the other performances do not meet hers. This is not the fault of the actors, who are amateurs, and this is a difficult, acoustically dull, three-sided space that even professionals would struggle in. They were very ill-advised to take it on considering their lack of experience and technique. Apart from McCafferey these actors downward inflect and shuffle about uneasily. They needed much stronger direction to get some kind of stagecraft out of them. There’s a table on stage and people sit at it, all on one side, like Da Vinci’s last supper. This is such poor and unimaginative and awkward staging. It never happens in real life!There is one truly original idea at the end, in the staging of the inevitable arrival of the Nazi soldiers to remove the family and send them to their horrific fate. It’s a chilling moment, and the production needed many, many more of them.At Broadway Baby we are encouraged to be constructively critical. Indeed, it’s a tough call to criticise such well-meaning work at all. This is a young amateur company, who must have worked hard and sacrificed much to get this show up here. But the bottom line is they are charging people money for people to see it. It’s a competitive market place, and one of the problems with the Festival is that virtually no one in their publicity is telling you at what level of performance these companies are operating. Certainly nowhere in the publicity for this show are we told these are young amateurs. The distinction between amateur and professional is not just one of payment. Professionals (at least good ones) train hard at their craft. They know how to move about a stage, how to time a joke (yes, there are jokes even in this script), how to be heard, how to make the words sound like they are being spoken for the first and only time. Professional directors know how to move actors about a space, understand the dynamics of stage pictures and can draw decent performances out of even weak actors. None of this is evident in this production.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

The true story of a 13-year-old living in hiding during WWII. Interwoven with beautiful live music, Patch of Blue introduce you to a girl whose dreams and words illuminated her dark and dusty world. www.patchofbluetheatre.co.uk

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