Vancouver Fringe Festival review: Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood

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      Playwright and actor Melanie Gall’s operatic training and compelling voice help make her one-woman show a successful musical trip back in time to the 1930s and ’40s. According to Ingenue, Deanna Durbin was a huge star in Hollywood in the 1930s, but at the age of 27 she gave it all up to go live in relative anonymity in France. Gall’s research skills turn up plenty of interesting biographical details about Durbin—affairs, pregnancies outside marriage, star power—and Gall smartly contextualizes the actor’s life by contrasting it with that of her purported frenemy, Judy Garland. Gall does a good job weaving together songs and story, but Ingenue’s framework—Durbin is being interviewed about her life following Garland’s death—feels tired, and in some moments, so does the writing. What never falters is the power of Gall’s voice. Her singing is the heart and soul of Ingenue.