Printable CopyBENT
Independent Theatre
Goodwood Institute Theatre
Until 21 Nov 2020

Review by Doug Phillips

Promoting this play as “Martin Sherman’s trail-blazing play about being gay in Nazi Germany”, won’t prepare audiences for what’s in store. To be clear, everything about this production is well executed, but this is not just another night out at the theatre.

This show will shock you. Even if you think you’ve been shocked at the theatre before, you’re still in for a confronting and unsettling experience. If you’re not shocked by this, you may need to seek psychological help.

Matt Hyde is outstanding the lead role, but there are no weak links in this cast. Each performer nails their character and knows their role well. The performances are strong, and even amusing in the right moments, but also gut-wrenchingly real and horrific.

The set construction is well thought out and utilised effectively. Scene transitions were sharp, with all involved executing their duties seamlessly. Sandra Davis and Ken Kurtz’s costumes are flawless, and the lighting perfectly complimentary to each scene.

Stories from this era tend to ignore the aspect that this show puts front and centre. When it is addressed, it’s usually glossed over too quickly. If you don’t understand what is meant by that, this is definitely a play you should be seeing. But brace yourself, this show has kick, and you won’t be the same after the final curtain.

Congratulations to everyone at Independent Theatre. An incredibly powerful work, produced with skill and expertise by an exceptional cast and crew.