The poster by Jamie Bottomley is simplistic in it’s design and it’s focus. The simplicity of the set is continued with wine, cake and books, and tells a story of a life lived through fantasy and small pleasures. He dresses, including us in his clothing decisions, deliberately warming us up to our involvement in the show which proves to be crucial as it progresses. We are warned of being offended and to control our urges, as ironically he begins to tell us a story of how he never controlled his own; thus why he finds himself jailed and unable to escape. We are taken by the hand and led into the fantasy, every word leading us deeper into the mind of De Sade and into the safety of following our own desires.
As the stories of debauchery are told, we the audience are now involved and are teased into an unbearable tension, broken with laughter that bubbles over with relief as he releases the spell with a joke. He explains why the usual perversions aren’t enough and he explores further and encourages us to do the same; not just in our mind but out loud to our fellow audience members and in a few key cases in a powerful display of control and painful perversions on stage with him. Of course, where you include the audience you must make sure that they know their role in the show. A few excitable audience interrupted the flow, though Sparrow eventually wrestled back control.
It’s a show you must release your sense of control and relax into the enjoyment of stories and laughter. Watch Sparrow as he manically darts from one end of the space to the other, drawing your eye and your attention as he strides around amongst us. Sometimes this high energy striding is somewhat distracting to his storytelling or feels like a stalling technique. I wanted a more controlled deliberate movement from De Sade, more of a predatory confident grace would have been in keeping.
He implores us to pursue our own pleasures, whether it be cake or something more. He preaches anarchy as a state of being, to chase the chaos in order to find your purpose. He promises that if he could do it all again, he would but better. What would be your better? Do you dare to follow your own pleasure? Will you be the next passion seekers to step into the room to see and speak with De Sade, like never before? The prison where he resides is open for a limited time and pure pleasure awaits inside.
See more of Alexander Sparrow here: