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The Tin Ring (Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

The Tin Ring is a theatrical adaptation of Zdenka Fantlova's autobiography of the same name. Performer Jane Arnfield and director Mike Alfreds have worked together to adapt the book and create a piece of theatre which brings the audience into the highs and lows of Zdenka's life between 1936 and 1946.

Zdenka is Czechoslovakian and was in her late teens when Hitler's army invaded her country. Arnfield enacts various events in Zdenka's life from watching the German forces come through her town, her father being taken by Gestapo and her own transportation to the massive camps which held the Jews during the holocaust. But this is countered by the joy of her meeting the man she falls in love with and the tin ring he presents her with as a token for their engagement.

However, despite the dark subject the play does not depress the emotions. Instead the positive hope which Zdenka displays even in the tough times is life affirming and her survival despite illness and the loss of her family and fiancé is a triumph of hope over the events she endured.

Jane Arnfield does an excellent job as Zdenka. She conveys not only the hope but the determination of this brave young woman to survive no matter what happens to her. The only problems come when she is both the interviewer and interviewee when the differences were not enough to make it easy to follow whom was speaking.

Alfreds directs with a delicate touch, allowing the words to carry the show so the simple set of black curtains and a solitary chair do not detract from the message.

Overall The Tin Ring presents an uplifting story told with simplicity and all the more powerful for it.

- Helen Jones