A study of a mother-daughter relationship inspired by the real life of psychoanalyst Melanie Klein. Mrs Klein was a breakthrough success for Nicholas Wright and the first of his plays to premiere at the National Theatre in London, who would go on to produce several of his plays.
In 1934 the son of Melanie Klein, Britain’s most admired psychoanalyst, was reported to have died in a climbing accident. There were no witnesses. Klein had come from Germany to Britain with a controversial mission to extend psychoanalysis to infants but her analysis of her own children damaged her relationship with them almost beyond repair, and the news of her son’s death provokes a bitter confrontation with her daughter. The play shows the effect of the shattering news of her son’s unexpected death on Mrs Klein, her daughter, Melitta and her new assistant Paula, herself a young refugee from Hitler’s Berlin.
Mrs Klein was first performed at the National Theatre in London in 1988 and was a big success transferring to the West End in the same year. It was subsequently staged on Broadway in 1995 with veteran stage actress Uta Hagen in the eponymous role. It was revived at the Almeida Theatre in London in 2009.