Opening on April 18th at the National Theatre is a brand new production of Absolute Hell by the maverick director, Joe Hill Gibbins. Rodney Ackland’s profoundly provocative play set in a sleazy drinking den in Soho and featuring a cast of degenerates who revel in a sordid life of debauchery and licentiousness was considered deeply shocking to the sensitivities of post war Britain. It was described as ‘a libel on the British people’ when it was first performed in 1952 under its original title, ‘The Pink Room’ and provoked such outrage and clutching of pearls that it wasn’t performed again until the 1980s.
There are those who might think that Balans Soho Society stole the entire thing and have essentially performing the play non-stop for the past 30 years. We couldn’t possibly comment, of course…
And if you’re unable to get tickets for this production we heartily recommend the version of Absolute Hell made by the BBC in 1991, starring Judi Dench. You can find it here: