Beware of plays that open on trains trundling through Europe in the
1940s. You know where they’re heading. The strength of Candida Cave’s new work, Lotte’s Journey, is that it evades cliché by telling the passengers’ stories in reverse. In particular we focus on Charlotte Saloman, a brilliant Jewish artist haunted by the suicide of her mother and grandmother. The script is technically ambitious and takes us from Berlin to Rome and Nice, and covers Saloman’s life from the age of eight when her father explained the cause of her mother’s death as influenza. These large transitions are skilfully handled by Ninon Jerome’s direction. Lotte Collett’s design is compact and admirably suggestive. In the space of a few years Saloman produced a highly innovative and expressive collection of paintings which remain unjustly neglected. Murdered at Auschwitz aged 26, she would have been 90 this year. The final irony is that she might have survived had her parents let her pursue a love affair that would have taken her beyond danger. Their desire to protect her killed her.