Friday, October 06, 2006

How Did Bent Stand Up To Critics?

How Did Bent Stand Up To Critics?

When Bent first appeared nearly twenty-seven years ago, it gave voice to victims of the Holocaust rarely mentioned prior to that: homosexuals. Now that many stories have since filled the void, how was the London revival of this groundbreaking piece of theatre viewed by British critics?

In giving Bent three out of five stars, The Guardian's Michael Billington notes, "[W]hile I still admire the play, Daniel Kramer's revival has an aura of flamboyant excitability at odds with a movingly restrained play....Like the production, Alan Cumming's Max also improves steadily as it goes along....(This) production...while honouring (Martin) Sherman's play, cannot resist painting the lily."

Nicholas de Jongh, critic for the Evening Standard, also gives the production three out of five stars: "Daniel Kramer's under-powered production even misguidedly dons the velvet glove of restraint when the play turns nastiest, while Alan Cumming conspicuously fails to summon up serious emotion as the wily, anti-heroic survivor Max....Cumming's light, stiff, shuttered performance cracks no hearts even at the poignant finale, but New, fresh to the London stage, all haggard and harrowed, shattering in fear and anxiety, steals the show."

Michael Coveney from What's On Stage makes it three for three in awarding three out of five stars, noting "On the one hand, it's as terrifyingly banal as it is terrifyingly sentimental. On the other, its dramatic crudity and flagrancy is exactly the point.... Aesthetic revulsion becomes confused with intellectual sympathy, and just as we have entered a place of no return, the second act friendship of Max and Horst, lugging their stones in the bleak compound, restores our faith in humanity."

Bent plays London's Trafalgar Studio 1 through January 13, 2007.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Bent Revival Twists Its Way Toward London Opening Tonight (October 5, 2006)
Alan Cumming Reportedly Bent on West End Role (July 3, 2006)

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