Cate Blanchett in Gross und Klein. Photo: Lisa Tomasetti
Karl Quinn, The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
Cate Blanchett has received one of the most glowing reviews in a career not short on praise for her performance in an absurdist German play on the London stage.
Euan Ferguson, theatre critic of The Observer Sunday newspaper, hailed Blanchett’s turn as Lotte in the Sydney Theatre Company's touring production of Gross und Klein (Big and Little), which opened at the Barbican on Saturday, as ''pitch perfect''.
''Cate Blanchett is beyond terrific. Whimperingly, blisteringly terrific. She is a revelation,'' the critic gushed.
Ferguson reported there were four ovations from the audience at the end of the three-hour production, ''which I think we can safely wager is the first time for a while that a London audience has felt that way about lengthy German surrealist drama''.
They weren't, he insisted, merely lauding a Hollywood star. ''They were applauding the realisation that sometimes, just sometimes, a person truly deserves to be a star.''
Ferguson's was the first review from the mainstream media, but website theartsdesk.com echoed his praise, if not his exuberance. ''Blanchett's performance has an inspiring quality that is constantly surprising and often moving,'' its critic wrote.
During its hometown season, the STC production drew similar plaudits for Blanchett, who is also with husband Andrew Upton, the outgoing artistic director of the company.
''Blanchett gives the performance of her career,'' opined the Sun Herald. ''This is a stunningly expressive performance ... her extraordinary vocal and physical skills as an actor have never been in doubt, but here she is magnificent,'' claimed The Australian. Hers was ''a performance of uncanny detail and riveting in its unpredictability'' said the Sydney Morning Herald.
The STC production of Gross und Klein is being staged in London as part of the city's cultural Olympiad. It has just come off a short season in Paris, where Blanchett received the Chevalier Medal, one of France's highest cultural awards, and will soon move on to Vienna and then to Recklinghausen in Germany.
In July, the STC will take its production of Uncle Vanya to New York (it took the play to Washington last year). If past form is any indicator, that could mean more plaudits for Blanchett: in 2011, The Washington Post’s theatre critic Peter Marks declared the company's staging of Chekhov's play the best production of the year.