Big and Small

Botho Strauss

Big and Small

Whisking us down a rabbit hole and into a wonderland-like world, Big and Small transports us to a hotel dining room where Lotte sits alone. Courageously optimistic and perpetually disappointed, Lotte is in constant search for human connection. She is rejected by her husband, unrecognised by old friends and unfamiliar with her family. Like Carroll’s Alice, sometimes Lotte is too big for her surroundings and sometimes too small to be noticed within them. 3.3 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
Big and Small

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Barbican Centre
Director Benedict Andrews
Cast Cate Blanchett
From April 2012
Until April 2012
Box Office 020 7638 8891
 

Whisking us down a rabbit hole and into a wonderland-like world, Big and Small transports us to a hotel dining room where Lotte sits alone. Courageously optimistic and perpetually disappointed, Lotte is in constant search for human connection. She is rejected by her husband, unrecognised by old friends and unfamiliar with her family. Like Carroll’s Alice, sometimes Lotte is too big for her surroundings and sometimes too small to be noticed within them.

Reviews

The Guardian

Michael Billington

Through his minimalist approach, Andrews cleverly suggests the cosmic implications enshrined in the title of Strauss's play. At times, the piece slips into a mechanical whimsy. But it survives through its portrait of a woman reduced to desperation by the indifference of a world consumed by getting and spending.

15/04/2012

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Time Out

Matt Trueman

Blanchett begins the evening hitching her gusset up, half-pissed on beach cocktails, and ends it writhing in a gold spangled leotard, being sexually harassed by God. She passes every test with flying colours. This three-hour production is essentially a one woman show with a supporting cast of 13. Strauss's collage of vignettes don't make an enduring mental impact, but they are a beguiling showcase for an actress who is much more than merely beautiful.

10/04/2012

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The Observer

Euan Ferguson

It is well-nigh impossible to tear one's eyes from Cate Blanchett, right from the opener, as she sits, smoking, on stage, gazing at us, soliloquising at us. Fine, much of it is admittedly mad absurdist German 70s playwright soliloquising – yet she delivers it with such confidence and humour, her breaths swooping and dying but every single pointed, angry or delighted line being nailed just-so, that from here on in you actually forgive much of the play and simply marvel at being in the presence of a bona fide stage star.

15/04/2012

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The Stage

Mark Shetnon

There’s a preoccupation with feelings of personal alienation as individuals travel across continents and their own pasts to find their place in the world. All of this runs the risk of being alienating to audiences, too, but thanks to the wondrous, constantly changing colours of Cate Blanchett’s performance as Lotte, Big and Small becomes transfixing. She’s an utterly magnetic, magnificent performer, and has a magnifying effect turning Big and Small’s series of alternately mundane and terrifying small vignettes into a big journey.

16/04/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

Blanchett's performance is a tour de force, sometimes quietly intense, sometimes dancing like a jittering rag doll. Overall, this is a world-class production, yet Big and Small rarely touches the heart, the play's episodic structure offering diminishing returns as it stretches to nearly three hours. The stream of two-dimensional characters leaves you hankering for depth; the philosophical concerns are never really pursued.

22/04/2012

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The Sunday Times

Christopher Hart

It isn’t easy to become emotionally involved in such quick-fire scenes, and far too often Gross und Klein offers only this sort of arch weirdness, never approaching the dreamlike, ­archetype-filled richness of true surrealism: a poor man’s Ionesco.

22/04/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

Somehow Blanchett, who is on stage almost throughout, triumphantly transcends the limitations of the script. She is wonderfully alive in every scene, by turns, funny, sad and touching, and there are extraordinary moments when she abandons language altogether and communicates instead through dazzling movement and dance. This is a punishing play, but Blanchett’s radiant performance creates many moments of pure wonder amid the gloom.

16/04/2012

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The Times

Dominic Maxwell

It’s hard to suspend your disbelief in some of these bizarre events — are we even invited to? — but thanks to the remarkable Blanchett, supported brilliantly by a cast of 13, we’re not in any doubt about the impact that all this disconnection has on Lotte ... I’m not convinced that it takes us quite where it wants to, but Blanchett ensures that it’s a memorable journey all the same.

15/04/2012

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The Independent

Paul Taylor

Establishing a winningly unguarded rapport with the audience, Blanchett manages to create a heroine who is both an open-hearted visionary able to retain a wonder and curiosity about the world, despite all the rebuffs, and a bit of a clown whose hapless antics are performed here with a balletically slapstick flair.

16/04/2012

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The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

For fans of Strauss and his postmodern bravura, the pleasure of the work lies in its fractured, puzzling indirectness. This certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste. While there are moments when Strauss’s account of isolation erupts into humour, it’s repetitive and often impenetrable. The characters with whom Lotte interacts are grimly banal. The depiction of a cold, disjointed world is fully sustained, but that doesn’t make it satisfying.

16/04/2012

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The Financial Times

Ian Shuttleworth

Strauss’s observations may have universal application, but they are about Germany. Not, however, about contemporary Germany ... Crimp’s text now mentions nanotechnology and the currency is the euro, but still includes references to “the war generation” which now make no sense among the population of the play. And as the onstage world (notwithstanding the absurdities included by Strauss) makes less sense, then so does Lotte’s journey within it and her inability to find any kind of place for herself there.

16/04/2012

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