Bent

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 22 October 2006, Opened 5 October 2006, Closed 9 December 2006 at the Trafalgar Studios 1 in London

A major new revival of Martin Sherman's play Bent directed by Daniel Kramer and starring Alan Cumming.

Set amidst the decadence of pre-war fascist Germany, Bent follows a personal journey from the cabarets and clubs of a hedonistic city to the inhuman excesses of a totalitarian regime, as a gay man discovers the true meaning of love and self-acceptance against almost impossible odds.

Cast features Alan Cumming as 'Max' along with Chris New as 'Horst', Kevin Trainor as 'Rudy', Richard Bremmer, Ricky Champ, Charles Mayer, Hugh Ross, Matthew Spencer, Laurence Spellman and Benjamin Wilkin. (Casting subject to change). This production is directed by Daniel Kramer who was recently nominated for the London Evening Standard's Outstanding Newcomer Award for his critically acclaimed productions of Hair and Woyzeck at London's Gate Theatre. Daniel is also a Creative Associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Associate Artistic Director at the Gate Theatre. Bent was originally seen in London at the Royal Court Theatre in 1979 and was then revived at the National Theatre in 1990 in a production that transferred to The Garrick Theatre. Martin Sherman's West End theatre plays include When She Danced and Onassis. He has also translated Luigi Pirandello's Absolutely! (perhaps).

"Martin Sherman's Bent could easily have dated badly... but the play stands up well, in part because its message about being true to yourself is pretty timeless, and in part because of Sherman's skilfully carpentered script and grasp of theatrical spectacle... [Alan Cumming] is good at projecting extremes of emotion, but less good as exuding misery... his Max is always ready with a rogish grin, and while he pulls of the ending, the production struggles to hold the middle ground between stoic wit and full-blown horror." The Sunday Telegraph

"Holocaust plays are tough ones for critics. In the face of such inhuman horror, it seems improper to apply critical or aesthetic judgment. Martin Sherman's 1979 play concerning the then little known subject of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals would seem a case in point. And yet, three decades on, in Daniel Kramer's camp revival, Bent strikes me, slightly uncomfortably, as using this terrible chapter to wave a banner saying Glad To Be Gay. Set in Berlin in the Thirties, it's the story of closet 'fluffs' Max and Rudy, who are despatched to Dachau. Max quickly realises it's better to be a Jew than gay and, in a scene of sickening brutality, disowns Rudy. Having convinced the Nazi guards that he's straight, he earns the right to wear a yellow star on his prison uniform. In the second half, as he moves rocks from one pile to another and back alongside Horst, who wears his pink triangle with pride, Max realises his sexuality is an essential part of his humanity, and the play becomes crudely sentimental." The Mail on Sunday

Bent in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 22 October 2006, opened on 5 October 2006 and closed on 9 December 2006