Review Roundup…Cleansed @National Theatre

Sarah Kane’s play is brutally brought back to the stage in a new production directed by Katie Mitchell and has already (according to reports) caused people to faint. 


The Guardian: *** Michael Billington found that: “for all the play’s visceral power, it left me feeling drained rather than shocked into new awareness.”

The Independent: *** Holly Williams thought: ” Katie Mitchell stages this gore-fest with upsetting realism, despite the play’s own rejection of the naturalistic.”

The Stage: **** Natasha Tripney wrote: “Mitchell’s production is strikingly precise.”

Evening Standard: **** Henry Hitchings summed the production up by calling it a: “scrupulously crafted revival”.

WhatsOnStage: ***Michael Coveney said: “Cleansed is Kane at her most utterly uncompromising.”

Time Out: **** Andrzej Lukowski described it as: “a strangely beautiful vortex of horror.”

The Financial Times: ***** Ian Shuttleworth praised the production saying: “I cannot imagine a more powerful production of this powerful play.”

London *** Dom O’Hanlon wrote: “Sometimes pushing your audience too far can obstruct any message within the text, and I’ll sadly remember this as the production where I was thankful for being able to take my glasses off and look away.”

The Telegraph: **** Claire Allfree found: “it is less a gratuitous gore fest than a drama deeply concerned with the agony of love.”

The Daily Mail: * Quentin Letts disagreed saying: “Adherents of Kane (and there are some in the subsidised theatre) want us to have a thoroughly miserable time.”

Life in the Cheap Seats: “the brutal moments were placed so snugly against one another that there was no room to breathe, and the violence in Sarah Kane’s text became nonsensical.”

Londonist: *** Savannah Whaley commented: “There are some profound and lasting moments in this production, but it is not a consuming theatrical experience.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “whether in Mitchell’s direction or Kane’s text or some unholy combination of the two, Cleansed completely lost me. ”

British Theatre Guide: Philip Fisher wrote: “Pairing the late Sarah Kane, making a very belated National Theatre debut, with director Katie Mitchell was always likely to prove potent and possibly explosive.”

Overall verdict: a grim and disturbing production with mixed success. Most definitely not for the faint hearted – you have been warned.

Cleansed is booking at the National Theatre until the 5th May. For more information and to book tickets visit:



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