We are in a spacious nursing home room, brightly lit with large windows. Almost every item is practical and impersonal. A checked mohair blanket with neatly tucked hospital corners and two framed wall pictures are the only suggestions that the room has been personalised.

Cellist Catherine Finnis enters stage right to the side of the room and opens with Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007. It is the first German we meet.

Robyn Nevin in A German Life. Photograph © Andrew Beveridge

The next is our narrator, centenarian Brunhilde Pomsel, played expertly by Robyn Nevin who brings a rare fragility to the role. For the next 90 minutes, we are drawn into the retelling of aspects of her life in Nazi Germany, including as an employee of the Minister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.

Written by Christopher Hampton from 235 pages of transcribed interviews with Pomsel, A German Lifeis an almost linear retelling by a woman who was eyewitness to atrocious and horrific events that changed the world.

Director Neil Armfield asks the impossible of us – to connect with an...