Tandanya Café, Wed 24 Feb
Some stories just need to be told, and this is one such story. We have all been saturated with stories of World War II, but who knew there were Americans en route to Germany to take up a new life when war broke out. Circumstances dictated that Ingrid Garner and her American family were marooned in Germany at the worst of times. For the duration of World War II in fact.
Garner principally plays the part of a young girl who has to adjust from her idyllic life in New Jersey to war torn Berlin. She, as many would have, saw and experienced things that no human being should ever have to. Garner also capably plays the parts of her father, her German born mother, younger brother and sundry others in what amounts to a virtuoso performance.
This show could exist on the strength of the story alone, or the endearing fact that Garner was dedicating it to her grandmother. But it is her skill as an actor that is the real strength of this show. She manages to entice a modern day audience into totally identifying with the characters she portrays. Her depiction of a naïve young girl, who knows nothing about war, being excited about the view of the park from their new home in Berlin, and saluting ‘Heil Hitler’ when she walks into local shops is ironically delightful.
As the gruesome reality of war unfolds her naiveté is replaced with the skills necessary to survive and a wisdom beyond her years.
All of this could have been sentimental and cloying but it is portrayed with just the right sense of realism without the emotion being overplayed. It’s a remarkable performance, and thoroughly deserved the lengthy ovation she received.
Wonderful theatre. Her grandmother would be proud. I, and I suspect most in the audience, were deeply moved by a great performance of a powerful story that is beautifully written.
Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl In Hitler’s Germany continues at Tandanya Cafe from 7pm until Sat 12 Mar
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.