I could start this with some fatuous mention of the fact that Yukio Mishima committed suicide as if to imply that this play was somehow the cause.
In theory this is a play where five women with connection to the Marquis de Sade paint a portrait of this wicked man. Actually they seem to stand still and spout long speeches so dull that they need lighting changes and echo effects to indicate how near they are to a climax.
It didn't help that a malfunction in several of the automatic follow spots left them swinging erratically and grinding gears loud enough to drown out several speeches (requiring Michael Grandage to nip out of the auditorium presumably to strangle the lighting people). The pity was that the lights interrupted Frances Barber who made by far the best of her material. It's not to say that others were bad, I'm not sure that there was enough life in this play.
I keep promising myself that I won't bang on about the writing course theory that you should show not tell, but I am too often confronted by things that I think break the rule. And in spite of being told about the Marquis and how maybe we should understand his sadism because underneath he was so pure, I never felt that I got close to understanding the man himself, to say nothing of his women.
Mishima appears to be a fascinating person and it would be nice to be able to say that I'd spent a good time in his mind but I didn't think I did. Pretty much the same applies to the Marquis de Sade and the women in his life.
"I could start this with some fatuous mention of the fact that Yukio Mishima committed suicide as if to imply that this play was somehow the cause."
You just knew we would, didn't you?
Technically I did too
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