Review: Eleanor's Story: An American Girl In Hitler's Germany

Arriving in wartime Berlin

theatre review (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Eleanor's Story
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Published 24 Feb 2019

A pale, poised Ingrid Garner takes to the stage in a buttoned blue dress. Two wooden chairs and a trunk complete the onstage set. Garner’s come to tell a story – the story of her grandmother, Eleanor, who spent seven years as an American youth living in Nazi Germany during WWII. 

While others prepare to flee Hitler’s dictatorship, Eleanor and her family are just arriving in Germany, fresh faced off the boat with their American accents and trunks of clothes.

In a compelling and nuanced performance, Garner’s mesmerising transitions into different characters bloom across the stage, instantly bringing her grandmother’s life hauntingly into focus. As bombs descend on Berlin, she’s faced with the atrocities and challenges that go hand in hand with surviving in a war-torn city.

The incorporation of multimedia, particularly the archival footage of Berlin pre- and post-war projected on the back wall, adds depth to the realness of this gripping family saga. The end of the play may be slightly drawn out, but it’s generous with the time it leaves for reflection on something from so long ago which Ingrid brings so unbelievably close.

It's also worth noting that this is in fact a story with a sequel: look out for Home Is The Stranger also being performed at Live From Tandanya this Fringe.