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David Porter » Reviews » Marat-Sade


Mouth to Mouth Theatre at The Cut, Halesworth

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 6 May 2005


Not a bad choice of entertainment in General Election week! Marat-Sade, like King Lear, questions the assumption that “sanity” alone brings awareness of reality, while “insanity” distorts reality.

Originally staged in 1964, it is an evocation of Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, a powerful, compelling piece with lessons from the Third Reich and earlier history.

A wide knowledge of the aftermath of the French Revolution and the assassination of Marat is not a pre-requisite. Nor are details of the Marquis de Sade’s philosophy. Nor the medical treatment of the insane in 1808.

This shock entertainment is deftly handled by Mouth to Mouth Theatre. Owing much to Brecht in narrative structure and songs, this play allowed the large cast to explore a range of lunatics without falling into a cliche catalogue of disgust and violence.

The central tragedy of Marat was demonstrated well by Paul Baker and his assassin Charlotte Corday (Keshar Whitelock) was chillingly dispassionate.

James Holloway as de Sade was maniacally controlled, sweetly reasonable, as the insane may sometimes appear to be.

The ensemble, the whole motley ragbag, is a credit to the direction of David Green. It was a strangely entertaining, twisted evening with thoughts, ideas and images that will live in the mind – surely the highest theatrical accolade.

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