Review: Madame de Sade

By John Nathan, March 26, 2009

Wyndham’s Theatre, London

Nothing can save can save Yukio Mishima’s static play from petrifying: not the fact that it is the story of the Marquis de Sade; not the fact that one of those women is played by Dame Judi Dench; and not even the, admittedly irrelevant but interesting, fact that Mishima committed ritual suicide. To breathe life into the accounts of the Marquis’ sado-masochism, Michael Grandage’s production relies entirely on the sumptuous crinoline dresses worn by his cast. That Dench, as de Sade’s mother-in-law, is more disapproving than shocked, is interesting; as is Rosamund Pike’s defiant loyalty as his wife. But Mishima is dodgily more admiring than enquiring about his subject.

Last updated: 4:08pm, April 28 2009