February 25, 8 p.m.

This play, performed off- Broadway at the Public Theatre in lower Manhattan, has ambition.  The 800 pound gorilla in the room is Anne Frank portrayed by a puppet.  The Story of Anne Frank is one of the most moving in the history of humankind, uplifting of spirit and a humbling portrait of the very best our species has to offer.  All this from the pen of a girl who was killed at the age of 16 by the greatest evil our species ever spawned.

That could never be changed, and I doubt it will ever be enhanced.  The Diary of a Young Girl will live forever as a standard to which the human race can never rise.

This play does nothing to enlarge that story.  Where its bounty lies is in giving Mandy Patinkin a vehicle in which to rise to his full talents as an actor.  Mr. Patinkin has that magical quality wherein an actor becomes unrecognizable as himself and so totally immerses in the character as to have his own self evaporate and leave not a trace.  In the beginning he runs his lines adequately but the fire builds, and when it overtakes him, there is neither play nor stage nor audience, just a surreal moment of art living purely and overwhelming its surrounds. 

Few actors can do this.  Meryl Streep does it;  Al Pacino has done it at least once;  and Brando did it routinely.  Kudos to Mandy Patinkin or the dybbuk which overtook him in this moment.  Welcome to the club.