Manitoba·★★★★ Review

Eleanor's Story: An American Girl in Hitler's Germany

FOUR STARS A child's eye view of Nazi culture and the war are brought to life in this historical drama.

FOUR STARS | A child's eye view of Nazi culture and the war are brought to life

(Offending Shadows Productions)

Rating: ★★★★

(Reviewed at the 2015 Winnipeg Fringe Festival)

Company: Offending Shadows Productions

Genre: Play — Drama

Venue: 24 — WECC (Ventura Hall)

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Eleanor's Story: An American Girl in Hitler's Germany is an adaptation of Ingrid Garner's grandmother's autobiography. In the play, Garner pays tribute to her grandmother by telling her story as a one person historical drama.

The setting is Nazi Berlin where Eleanor's German father drags his brood in 1939. Leaving bucolic New Jersey behind, they are mid-ocean when the family get news that their new home has declared war on Poland. By the time they're settled in Berlin, hell has been unleashed.

A child's eye view of Nazi culture and the war as it unfolded are brought to life in a few key scenes. The props are elegant, as is the star. The historical slides that play in the background add to the verité, especially near the end of the play when the images briefly animate. 

A scene during an air raid and a scene in Eleanor's bedroom where she listens in terror to the screams of her neighbours being raped by Russian soldiers is very painful to watch and contemplate. There are moments of levity but this is a serious show.

The shadow of another famous young girl who now only lives on through her famous diary was never far from this reviewer's mind. But Eleanor was another innocent victim of the darkest time in mankind's history. 

Garner honours her grandmother in this production which, although harrowing, is well worth attending. Exceptional!​

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