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Horváth's setting for this black political farce is a seedy hotel in Central Europe in the 1920s where the only guest is a drunken, ageing nymphomaniac - wealthy and despotic. Under her sole occupancy the hotel is falling apart and sliding even deeper into decadence. There is no future and no hope until a young woman arrives with a fortune to spend. What follows is a riot of confusion and mistaken identities, satirising the despair and futility of a continent poised on the brink of fascism.
Horváth (1901-1938) was accidentally killed in Paris after fleeing from the Nazis. The Belle Vue, one of 16 plays, was not performed until 1969. This translation marked the British premiere, in a production by the Actors Touring Company.