This play runs for one hour 20 minutes without an interval, and this is something of a blessing since much of it is pretentious twaddle.
The plot is brief and the actors are static. Two strangers on the Paris-Frankfurt train sit opposite each other. The woman (Sian Phillips) is a literary, well educated widow carrying a novel, The Unexpected Man, in her handbag. Opposite her sits The Man - its author (Peter Bowles).
He is glum and uncommunicative, with the prospect of watching his daughter marry a much older man who is a bore. She is without any particular devices which might bring her to a dialogue with an author she admires.
She holds up his book as she reads it, in order to gain his attention. Perhaps I'm paying the author Yasmina Reza a compliment when I say that her play, with its endless delving into the imagined lives of people we only hear of and never see (and frankly, in whom we have little interest) roughly resembles the kind of play Sartre or Marguerite Duras could well have written.
There is the French notion here of endless philosophical debate with one's self interlarded with significant art and politics. It is unashamedly class-conscious.
We hear of the effect of branflakes on the colon at dawn. Then there is the author's confessed tussle with Debussy and similar composers since he is an ambitious Sunday pianist.
The convolutions of these interior monologues from both characters scarcely kept me awake, although Mr Bowles is admirable as he discusses life's adversities with the acerbic edge attributed to his character.
And there are occasional drolleries which leaven the dough.
Ms Phillips is always fine in whatever she does and her sharp intelligence lifts many sequences which otherwise risk hitting the deck.
The set with its clean acrylic salon chairs and leafless trees - for reasons that escape me, since this is a train in motion - also carries a screen with occasional shots of railway track.
* Running time: One hour, 20 minutes. Until Saturday