If you love theatre and want to see an excellent stage performance, get yourself to the Barbican as quick as you can for the Sydney Theatre Company‘s production of Gross und Klein (Big and Small), starring the wonderful Cate Blanchett. The minimalist production has laughs, shocks, surrealism, physical humour and existential angst by the bucket load. Blanchett – to paraphrase her character Lotte – is “amazing” as the focal point of the play, which lasts three hours including intermission.
The play, by Botho Strauss, has been translated & updated by Martin Crimp to include references to modern technology and popular culture, but retains its original bleak, post-war German atmosphere of alienation. Lotte begins as a cocktail-sipping tourist in Morocco, thrown askew by martial breakdown and desperate for human connection. By the play’s end, she has descended into mental breakdown, conversing with God, rummaging through bins, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room for company. But the waiting room (a microcosm of the world at large) is only a temporary refuge from the pain of loneliness, and inevitably she is told to leave. The characters Lotte encounters along her journey are plagued by their own demons – are we seeing them as they are, or as Lotte sees them? Is she really so abnormal after all?
The excellent cast, directed by Benedict Andrews, comprises Cate Blanchett, Lynette Curran, Anita Hegh, Belinda McClory, Josh McConville, Robert Menzies, Katrina Milosevic, Yalin Ozucelik, Richard Piper, Richard Pyros, Sophie Ross, Chris Ryan, Christopher Stollery and Martin Vaughan.
Get your tickets here. Gross und Klein is at the Barbican until April 29.