The Damned (Les Damnés)

The Damned (Les Damnés)

Barbican Centre · 19 JUN - 25 JUN

Crackling with intensity, this triumphant spectacle directed by Ivo van Hove depicts the disintegration of a society, undone through a venomous alliance, the drama finding unsettling parallels today.

Overview

Luchino Visconti’s screenplay is the springboard for a ceaselessly creative production, which follows a family of German industrialists – the corrupt and debauched Essenbeck clan. With echoes of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, their deepening collusion with the nascent Nazi regime puts them on a perilous path to destruction.

Invited to direct the illustrious troupe of Comédie-Française for the first time, Van Hove and his long-time collaborator Jan Versweyveld populate the Barbican stage with a company of 30 actors and technicians. Archival footage and live recordings projected onto a screen form a counterpoint to the immense and involving action, the roving camera at times turned on the audience.

The Damned (Les Damnés) is performed in French with English surtitles.

Critic reviews

‘The Damned’ begins in twilight and ends in total darkness. It’s not a happy experience, but it is a brilliant piece of art

Time Out

Just when it feels like it’s teetering on the brink of being operatically silly, it will take a visceral and terrifying lurch into an image of startling clarity and relevance

The Upcoming

This is a riveting spectacle acted by a great ensemble

The Guardian

A typically flashy staging of Luchino Visconti’s film by Ivo van Hove that lacks any real resonance

The Stage

Sound and vision reach a zenith of invention as the doomed patriarch's son Konstantin goes berserk with his SA buddies

The Arts Desk

Many will find the play’s theme of the perils of democracy timely

Exeunt

The cast build up the atmosphere of doom and magnetic energy in tight collaboration

Broadway World

Ivo van Hove’s superb, deeply distressing staging of The Damned

Financial Times

The whole thing, for all its cleverness, feels heavy-handed and laboured

WhatsOnStage

With nudity, sexual assault and paedophilia, Ivo van Hove tests the boundaries of acceptability

The Telegraph

Date & time

Show ended
Wed 19 Jun - Tue 25 Jun

Venue

Barbican Centre
Silk Street EC2Y 8DS London, UK · Get Directions

Presented by

3.6
out of 5 stars
5 user reviews
Loading user reviews…

Seen the show? Add your review now!

Open in app