But without the lure of an actress of Cate Blanchett’s stature, the ten loosely linked, absurdist scenes of his study of post-war alienation (which premiered in 1978) would be unlikely to attract a substantial audience over here.
Using a nifty adaptation by Martin Crimp, Benedict Andrews’ well-acted production for Sydney Theatre Company employs an elegant design with surreal touches (by Johannes Schütz) to emphasises the loneliness of the increasingly desperate Lotte in her Alice in Wonderlandish quest to find her place in society.
From a suspiciously perky monologue delivered on holiday in Morocco, to further humiliation by her estranged husband back in Germany, rejection by an old school friend who won’t let her into her apartment, and the irritation of a new boyfriend she tries too enthusiastically to help at work, graphic designer Lotte searches for a touch of warmth and tenderness.
There are moments of humour, but the play itself is hard to engage with. So all praise to Blanchett for a knockout performance – whether dancing with playful abandon, openly vulnerable, or over eager in her desire to connect, she succeeds against the odds in making you feel for Lotte’s predicament, alone and adrift in a materialistic society that doesn’t want to know.
Barbican, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Until April 29