Madame de Sade

  • Date:
    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Genre: Drama
    Opened 18 March 2009
    Written: By Yukio Mishima, translated from the Japanese by Donald Keene
    Directed: Michael Grandage
    Producer: Donmar Warehouse
    Cast: Judi Dench (Madame de Montreuil), Rosamund Pike (Renee), Frances Barber (Comtesse de Saint-Fond), Fiona Button (Anne), Deborah Findlay (Baronesse de Simiane) , Jenny Galloway (Charlotte)
    Synopsis: Against her mother’s wishes, Renee remains vehemently devoted to her husband, the Marquis de Sade, the notorious aristocrat imprisoned in the Bastille for his lurid escapades and licentious behaviour. Set in Paris as it hurtles towards a violent revolution, Mishima’s poetic masterpiece brings to life the fascinating story of the Marquis de Sade told through the eyes of six remarkable women.

    What the popular press had to say.....
    NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Grandage struggles to animate Mishima’s arid sequence of formal, sub-romantic speeches in which de Sade is viewed from the perspective of five interested women" BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "It’s lead, gilded lead, highly decorated lead, but still lead. And that’s despite the hard work of Judi Dench, who has to be almost permanently outraged as the mother-in-law of the imprisoned Marquis de Sade, and Rosamund Pike, who can’t be blamed for resembling an earnest schoolgirl doggedly adjusting to larks in the dorm." MICHAEL COVENEY for THE INDEPENDENT says, "I'm not advocating anything so bold in a show adorned by Dame Judi, but the mild wittering of a few miffed ladies in silk skirts is not much of a substitute." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Deeply dodgy play ...pure theatrical torture...The kindest thing one can say about this cruelly punishing play is that it's lovely when it stops." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "The acting and staging are breathtaking but the play itself is an example of the Higher Tosh...I've nothing against using the stage as a debating forum: what is dismaying here is the quality of the ideas...strikes me as decadent romanticism." JOHN THAXTER for THE STAGE says, "Swift, witty staging." QUENTIN LETTS for THE DAILY MAIL says, " 115 minutes of verbal and visual punishment." DAVID BENEDICT for VARIETY says, "Grandage's production is remarkable for its sustained tension."

    External links to full reviews from popular press
    The Guardian
    The Independent
    The Times
    Daily Telegraph

    Production photos by Johan Persson

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