The National Theatre has a great reputation for brilliant staging of old and new drama based on historical fact, to which witness the great success of The White Guard, Coram Boy, and Pitmen Painters, on the last of which I have written previously. This reputation remains intact with the present production, despite lesser success in my own view and the average of very varied reviews received (2 to 4 out of 5 stars).
Tag: Olivier Theatre
… means and ends …
Buchner’s early 19th-century play (1835), in its new version by Brenton, portrays on one level the interpersonal dynamics of the reign of terror of the French Revolution, and on a deeper level the tragic consequences of an ideologue-at-work, Robespierre, who places concept over humanity. Danton, as brilliantly played by Toby Stephens, mistakenly believes that his past services to the Revolution and his reputation as a revolutionary will secure his future. He does not grasp the full consequences of Robespierre’s single-minded pursuit of “political cleansing”. But, as Robespierre says at Danton’s trial, “He [Danton’s friend Lacroix] thinks a special privilege is attached to that name. We want no privileges, we want no false gods!”