The Caucasion Chalk Circle - National Theatre

Norwich Playhouse

Norwich Playhouse

We all know so much about Brecht and his theories that it is easy to forget what's going on whilst you take a bird spotter's delight in identifying the way it's done.

Will this company use the celebrated alienation effect (the actor's art of showing a character without empathy)? Will there be montage?

Folding things? Socially determined gestures... the familiar checklist races through your brain.

You're so intent you lose the thread.

In a show of muted colours and subtle performances, the National Theatre Company made virtuosic use of all the tricks in Brecht's bag. But even so the message rang out loud and clear.

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And why? Because they'd nailed the central question: should you leave a child to die? With your heart the answer is no, but your head, given the consequences, may say yes.

And this gut-wrenching dilemma tears you apart and fires you to action as it chimes on your own moral struggles.

In Brecht's own era, he was attempting to cement the post-war German community as it faced the giant reconstruction of its culture, and in our own increasingly passive and splintered community, his work still has a story to tell.

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