Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Realistic Anne Frank at Onstage Playhouse

Review By Paola Hornbuckle
Sven Salumaa as Otto Frank and Lucia Vecchio as Anne Frank. Photo by Paul Savage (

Sven Salumaa as Otto Frank. Photo by Paul Savage ( those of us familiar with The Diary of Anne Frank, the play now playing at Onstage Playhouse will seem taken right out of her diary word for word. This version by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and adapted by Wendy Kesselman, includes many of the key moments of the Van Dann and Frank families as they were forced to spend time together in an attic in Amsterdam, hiding from the Nazis. After a while, the play becomes an eerie look into what was truly their life. The realism of the set, probably not much bigger than the actual attic, the fine casting, and the fact that these events really happened makes it seem more like a conjuration of the dead than a play. We feel we are really watching what happened to Anne Frank, and historical circumstances aside, it becomes a fascinating look into the psychological coping mechanisms and deterioration of relationships of people forced to live in captivity. The truth is it could not have been easy, and as inspirational as Anne Frank might have been at times in her writing, she was probably a pretty annoying teenager to be trapped in an attic with for more than a year.

Sven Salumaa as Otto Frank and Lucia Vecchio as Anne Frank.  Photo by Paul Savage ( Lucia Vecchio is a near perfect Anne Frank, hyper, talkative, and just looks the part to perfection. Like a ball with nowhere to bounce she is the focus of many of the fights. Sven Salumaa as Otto Frank and Laura Preble as Edith Frank are just right as the long-suffering, humble couple and parents the troublesome Anne. Rachel Throesch as Margot Frank is so meek and shy she seems she will fade away into the set and yet is just the type of person one wants to be stuck in an attic with she is so unassuming. Teri Brown was made to play Mrs. Van Daan, boisterous and vain, but still very human. Greg McAfee did a fine job as the slightly selfish Mr. Van Daan and Mitchell Pfitzmainer was a pleasant Peter Van Daan. Nick Young as Mr. Dussel and Anne’s nemesis was impatient and quirky and definitely said whatever was on his mind; one felt Anne finally met her match. Rob Conway as Mr. Kraler and Anya Tuerk as the strinking Miep Gies added to the rounding of the cast.

Rachel Throesch as Margot Frank and Laura Preble as Edith Frank.  Photo by Paul Savage (
Also playing were Art Fusco, Richard Cajka and Jose Galvan. I really enjoyed the set by Chad Oakley and Bruce Wilde and the costuming by Teri Brown and Laurie Thibodeaux. Directed by Kym Pappas, this play is a realistic look into the final years of Anne Frank and her family: humane, sad, funny, claustrophobic, two families try to keep their humanity in trying circumstances. It is playing until December 4, 2011 for more information go to

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