‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ // Lind Lane Theatre Inc

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ was guileless.

As respectfully and honestly as possible, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ was presented by Lind Lane Theatre under the skilful direction of Glenda Campi. For a story with challenging staging restrictions, but beautifully poignant universal themes, Campi has delivered a stunning rendition with a capable and mature young cast.

Following the journey of a young Jewish girl, hiding in a secret annex in World War II, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ is a theatrical reimagining of the last years of Anne’s short life. The story is loosely based on her actual diary and explores the trials and tribulations faced by Anne and her family as they shared and survived their restricted jail-like living quarters.

Glenda Campi’s vision stretched beyond the directing of performers and into the set design with Drew Campi. Together they devised a strategic multi-level set, with cleverly sourced furniture and fitting decor. A digital projection added little to the well-established setting, however, a scrim was utilised multiple times helping to disconnect and ground the audience during the periods of emotional calm in the plot.   

Just as fitting were the costumes by Ngaire Toombs, Anne Grant and Catherine Steers. Each one reflected not only the geography and time period but also the unusual conditions in which the characters found themselves. Constant costume changes, cleverly covered by Campi’s mindful blocking, allowed for a progression of time that was seamless. Whilst some of Miep’s costumes were a little too short for the era, Lauren Willett, who played Miep, masked this well.

Sound design, by Josh Wilson and Chris Grealy, made for a powerful addition to the production. Not only were instrumental arrangements used to set the mood, but sound effects were also thoughtfully utilised. This gave an illusion of depth to the annex and brought life to Mouschi, the cat.

The cast of nine brought unified energy to the stage. Whilst each delivered a unique and carefully moulded character, they matched one another in talent and pacing. To the credit of director Glenda Campi, the focus of the audience was always maintained as the flow from one conversation to the next was smooth and effortless.

Otto, portrayed by Clem Van der Weegan, played a significant role in the reworking and production of Anne’s diary. As the only survivor from the annex, Otto became the voice for Anne, once she could no longer speak. Van der Weegan presented an Otto that was both sincere and resilient. Whilst other portrayals have focused on Otto’s harder side, Van der Weegan gave the character more empathy by highlighting his caring nature during arguments about keeping the family safe.

The youngest actors in the show, Amber Taylor and Jack de La Haye, respectively portraying Anne Frank and Peter Van Daan, gave performances beyond their years. An abundance of energy and a keen sense of adventure was found in Taylor’s Anne, whilst in contrast de La Haye’s Peter had a gentleness and reclusive nature. Together they used the dialogue and story arc to naturally build the connection between their characters. Each simultaneously allowed their character to influence the other; de La Haye’s Peter to become more open, and Taylor’s Anne calmer. The essence of the story, wartime through the lens of youth, was reflected perfectly by their stage presence, guileless and honest.  

Angie Braby, Will Perez Ronderos, Catherine Steer, Caeli Hinkler, and Will Wallace made up the remaining cast, and whilst each gave striking and memorable performances, it was their cohesion and commitment that made the story flow like a dance. This strong supporting cast was made stronger by the relationships they created, maintaining synchronicity throughout the show. Each held their character through every small, insignificant action, such as reading a paper, changing a shirt or peeling a vegetable, and it was this that brought the roles to life.

It goes without saying that ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ is one of the most significant pieces of literature from the twentieth century. It remains relevant because of Anne Frank’s earnest perspective of the world, a theme that Campi has emphasised in every aspect of her rendition thoughtfully.

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ performs until Saturday, 13 April 2019 at Lind Lane Theatre, Nambour. For tickets, book online at

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  1. Thank you for the glowing review. It’s been a pleasure to be involved in this very moving and well written play. It has an effect on all of us who present it, and when the house lights come up and the audience is still for a while, we know they share what we feel.

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