Horrors brought vividly to focus

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Diary of Anne Frank - Blackpool Grand Theatre

Although the audience is spared the horror of witnessing the devastating end to the tale, the harrowing everyday of their individual struggles in the claustrophobic annexe is brought vividly into focus.

Amy Dawson delivered a maddening, exhausting yet ultimately inspiring Anne Frank. Her colossal personality in all its hormone fuelled intensity made the cramped living conditions feel even more stifling.

From her shrill laughter and attention seeking behaviour to the cruel treatment of her mother and nightmares, she painted a very human portrait of what was a normal teenage girl whose poignant writings has seen her almost canonised in modern perception.

At times, her character almost had too much silliness for a teenage girl, but the reliance of the other characters on her optimism and ability to distract from despair became clear.

In the second half, she matured into a much more tolerable young woman and much emphasis was put on her relationship with Peter Van Daan.

The cast overall was flawless with Christopher Timothy creating a dignified Otto Frank and Kerry Peers showing a desperate and devoted mother pushed to breaking point as his wife Edith.

The set is rich with endless imagery from the lines of shoes placed at the front of the stage to the piles of hidden books. A Nazi soldier sat menacing silent and pouring rain from a forbidding cloud built the foreboding atmosphere. News bulletins from a crackling wireless, haunting air raid sirens and spine chilling screams helped build an evocative and engrossing experience.