Monday, January 26, 2015

Theatre: Eleanor's Story and The Nina Variations

Perhaps this is what they mean by American Exceptionalism. A peculiar brace of shows, each very much a product of their U.S. origin (even though neither was principally set there) played small Fringe World venues over the first Fringe weekend.
Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hitler’s Germany  (★ ★ ★ )
Adapted and performed by Ingrid Garner
Directed by Craig Tyrl
The Stables
Until January 30

Eleanor’s Story, is essentially homage from its performer, Ingrid Garner, to her grandmother, upon whose autobiography it is based.
It’s a sweet thing for a granddaughter to attempt, and undoubtedly heartfelt, but for much of its first half it felt underpowered and a touch saccharine.
One story, though abruptly lifts the narrative’s temperature and the intensity of Garner’s performance. From then on we are powerfully subjected to the enormity of civilians’ war, and the horrors visited upon a defeated city. 

The Nina Variations (★ ★ ½)
By Steven Dietz
Directed by Jenna Krasowski
Performed by Michael Sean Cirelli and Hannah Pascoe

The prolific Steven Dietz was given to wonder what might have transpired between the doomed Treplev and his obsession, Nina, at their last meeting in Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, and devises forty-odd scenes between them for to explore his musings. It’s a clever conceit, with much clever writing, and, outside of an environment where knowledge of Chekov’s play is intimate, intricate and deconstructive, a complete waste of time.

Link here to the complete reviews of both plays in The West Australian

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