THEATRE JOHN NATHAN

The Jewish Chronicle - - Arts&entertainment -

Bar­bican Theatre, London EC3

IT IS fair to say that the draw here is Cate Blanchett and not, for all his rep­u­ta­tion as one of Ger­many’s most re­spected liv­ing drama­tists, Botho Strauss. That is un­less semi-ab­sur­dist Ger­man drama from the Cold War era has sud­denly be­come box-of­fice gold.

In Martin Crimp’s up­dated trans­la­tion of Strauss’s 1978 play — staged by the Syd­ney Theatre Com­pany — Blanchett plays Lotte, a woman about whom we learn lit­tle be­yond the fact that her ego­tis­ti­cal hus­band Paul has left her.

Strauss is as in­ter­ested in im­agery as he is in story-telling, his nar­ra­tive more a se­ries of snap­shots than an un­fold­ing plot. It is a form well un­der­stood by di­rec­tor Bene­dict An­drews and de­signer Jo­hannes Schultz, who set the ac­tion on a dark stage of seem­ingly in­fi­nite depth.

In truth, Lotte rep­re­sents an old­fash­ioned idea of how a woman copes with re­jec­tion — made even more so by Crimp’s up­dated set­ting.

Still, Blanchett gives a per­for­mance of such wit and vul­ner­a­bil­ity, prov­ing she can com­mand a stage as con­vinc­ingly as she does the screen, that she makes the pro­duc­tion a must-see. ( www.bar­bican.org.uk)

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