The Diary of Anne Frank, a Review

Centre Stage School made a lovely, tender drama out of The Diary of Anne Frank, which they performed at the Aemilian Theatre, Mallow, last weekend. Strange how the shining spirit of a young girl now dead for nearly 70 years can filter down through the ages and continue to inspire audiences.

Aideen McAuliffe and Evelyn Quinlan, who directed; Danny Buckley and Danny McAuliffe who designed the setting, and a remarkable cast treated the script with honesty and emotion. Among them was 15 year old Joanne Moloney who played the part of Anne. By some magic that cannot be explained, she caught the character of Anne in a flowing, spontaneous, radiant performance. Anne was a capricious, quick-tempered, loving maiden whose imagination was always running ahead of her experience. Whether that was Anne or Joanne Moloney, it was hard to say, as they blended into one being. Ms. Moloney made it look artless because she created it with so much purity from within.

It is the story of Jews hidden in an Amsterdam annex during the Nazi occupation, fed by some friends and successfully secreted for a couple of years. Nothing momentously dramatic happens. It is a story of stealth, boredom, bickering, searching for comfort in other people, dreams, fears, hunger, anger and joy.

Everyone associated with the production caught some of Anne’s spirit.. As Otto Frank, Danny Buckley played it with taste and kindness. The members of the rather boorish Van Daan family were played with perception by Denise Curtin ,David Sheedy and James Ronayne, while Michael Vaughans nervous, crochety dentist was amusing and precise.

Aideen Walsh’s patient mother whose nerves are tightly stretched and Mairead Fouhy as a loyal, placid sister complete the closely knit Frank family. As the two people from outside, Jane Walsh and Elaine Ryan brought into the play some of the freshness and also the anxieties of the normal world. Overall, a beautiful piece of theatre and a credit to Centre Stage School.