‘Why don’t you come in, my husband is at war’ bids Mechthild Grossmann, one of the original cast members (alongside Dominique Mercy) in Two Cigarettes In The Dark, originally created in 1985. Standing at the footlights in a voluminous ball gown, her majestic pose and weighty tone instantly alludes to dejected relationships and small-time affairs.

Striking stage design from Peter Pabst sets the mood further: a white room with numerous doors and hidden stairs, completed with a tropical garden, cacti and aquariums seen through its three windows. Its excessiveness conjures an image of opulence and decadent parties of the early 20th century. The cast dressed in ball gowns and black-tie stagger through their interactions in a series of vignettes which illustrate their disjointed relationships. They are like guests that have never left and years later are still wandering through the house conducting their affairs and avoiding their own reality.

Present are the familiar themes synonymous with Pina Bausch's work: gender-inflicted relationships, emotional dependence and social stereotypes. There are manipulative, self-important men and hapless obedient women: a man dragging a woman to a puddle on the floor, screaming at her as if training a puppy, before she obediently pulls her underwear down in the corner he points to. There is vulgar sex, and nudity, and screaming, all of which feels integral, and sardonic humour.

Comical moments and gestures here are executed melancholically, with heads hung low and at a tempo which is slightly too slow to be funny; instead, it underscores the absurdity, meaninglessness and resignation of the characters' existence. Mercy enters wearing a ball gown and the audience giggles, but he walks slowly, in dim light, his gaze tracing the floor, and it begins to feel like escapism – being somebody else, so as not to face himself.

The cast in Two Cigarettes are magnificent as ever, breathing every cell of their character and there is not a moment of doubt in their sincerity. The stunning set completed beautifully with lighting design and ever-perfect music score do not disappoint.

However the lengthy vignettes are too disjointed at times, and the themes feel less defined than in some of Bausch’s other work. As the piece entered its third hour, is it really necessary to watch Michael Strecker spray paint himself white for quite so long? If only Bausch was a tad more selective in her editing. Yet as the evening ends with Bing Crosby’s Two Cigarettes In The Night the prevailing emotion is admiration for Bausch’s sense of humour and sensitivity to life.