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4.1 out of 5 stars
Blasted (Modern Plays)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2008
a great play which explores the limits of human brutality and violence (..they appear to be endless). Kane gives voice to a desperate generation who had a lot to say. This excellent play is a scream in our faces- a scream that shocks because its so true. The play has got two scenes (the 1st naturalistic and 2nd hyperrealistic- another thing that makes this play so unique) jumping from personal violence to the global violence of war. Saying that this play has gone too far is like denying all these things that we read in the newspapers everyday.
Kane's best play in my opinion!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2013
The play is a very quick read; a bit like a sharp punch to the stomach. Initially the play is quite simple: two lovers- a middle-aged man (Ian) and a twenty-one year old girl (Cate)- spend a night in a very expensive hotel in Leeds. Ian is cruel and disgustingly racist; Cate is cold and selfish. Were the play simply to stick to this, it'd be a rough enough night, but then the mysterious Soldier figure enters, bringing apocalyptic news and giving Ian the torture that he probably deserves.

It sets off a chain of disturbingly violent events, some of which would be pretty hard to stage convincingly. I don't know whether these incidents would look a bit Titus Andronicus-y in performance; the play is really a very interior one, giving us an insight into playwright Sarah Kane's mind. As you probably know, Kane committed suicide in 1999- four years after Blasted- and all her plays are coloured by her mental illness.

That's not to say that they are simply mad ravings. For all the violence in the play, there is a great deal of tenderness. These two broken people need each other and would probably be unable to connect with anyone other than each other. Not that they can romantically connect with each other; Cate is reluctant towards Ian and Ian sees her as a tease. Yet what really comes across is the sense that these two people know each other completely.

For me, it is this personal relationship that is the core of the piece. Critics argued that Kane was trying to make a naive and simplistic point about the nature of war, but I disagree. It's an attempt to rationalise what is a play all about people behaving irrationally. What it's really about is the atrocities that humans- particularly lovers- can inflict upon each other. Viewing it in this light means that the play becomes a lot more satisfactory.

What stops the play from simply being a historical document- an example of in-yer-face theatre- is the emotional honesty and the play's vividness. Without the emotional violence, we could dismiss it as simply being an attempt to shock and cause superficial controversy. However the presence of genuine emotion makes the reaction to it more troubling.

One plus point of Blasted is that it is surprisingly accessible considering some plays of this genre. No arty overlapping or poetic verse here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2008
This contains the dark provacative illustration of love. The scene is based in a Hotel room. There are various violent moments including rapes,alcoholism, cannabilsm, mental and emotional rollercoaster rides.This play has sickened many viewers who had watched the play or have studied this in education.Shocking as it maybe it does however provide insight to the reality of wars and what have taken place. It also portrays loyalty, insecurity and endurance. It is a great play to critically analyse and with great depth. Beneath the shock is more than you had bargained. It is best to keep an open mind before making any immediate judgements. The play is highly commendable as it should be.
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2010
"Blasted" is a real shock to the system; it encapsulates some of the worst fears and possibilities of modern society. It is fifteen years old, but hasn't aged at all. The potential threats contained in the play are still ever present.

There seems little point in trying to work out what it is about. It has a narrative flow, but the themes and preoccupations of the characters run through in a much more incoherent process. Sarah Kane must have been influenced by the 90s civil wars in Africa as the atrocities she details and the mind-set of the soldier belong to the era of Rwanda. She taps into the fear of it happening in Britain. Or is that just a ploy to shake the audience? Sexual abuse is another thread that holds the characters together, again plugging into a national preoccupation.

Sex, death, violence, bodily functions all coalesce within the play in the manner of something perhaps written by Antonin Artaud. The explosion and mini apocalypse are also reminiscent of the disturbed playwright's style. There is a sense of identification here.

It would take some seriously committed actors to work on this play because of the psyches that have to be explored. I cannot imagine any real pleasure in venturing to portray these people. Cate is damaged, Ian has nothing to lose and the Soldier is traumatised (PTS?) and brutal. There is nothing here to joy in playing and maybe actors need a messianic attitude to work an audience in the way the play requires. It will also take a director with a very decisive turn of mind to realise this drama.

Compulsive and repulsive; interesting.
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on 30 June 2009
This play is not for the faint hearted readers as some students have found. However, despite the horrific surface of these powerful disturbing images, there is a deeper meaning and a beautful message...love... and yes some would argue this. This play caused a disturbing affect on reviewers, many whom were disgusted. Though dramatist and serious theatre critics like Edward Bond find this refreshingly welcoming to british theatre. The language is violently poetic, a radical difference in theatrical conventions.

Read Kane's words beyond the superficial surface and you will find a whole new level of intellectual stimulation that you thought not possible. She was trying to make a point, are you too ignorant to find what that point is?
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2002
Throughout Kane's brief career, her theatrical works were heavily criticised for being inhuman, crude and downright nasty. Reading 'Blasted' with this bias in mind, it is easy to label the script as intolerable, with its consistent expletives, references to rape, defacation, brutality, sodomy and cannibalism.
However, read with an open mind and dismiss the opinions of these narrow minded judges of the mid nineties. Believe me, 'they know not what they say'. Sarah Kane's 'Blasted' holds an almost magnetic power that prevents the reader from putting the book down. Her characters, the sadistic Ian, the naive Cate and the unknown terrifying figure of the soldier are all painful in their intensity of portrayal, and the brutality is all necessary in conveying the sense of hopelessness and despair. It is a play designed to reflect upon our era, it is relevant, and in places it is even witty. What more could one ask from a script?
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2006
Ten years on the dust about the "in-yer-face" theatre had been settled. Blasted was the first in a serious of sexual and violent plays. The play was a slap in the face for the everyday audience in the nineties.
The play takes place in a hotel room in Leeds where Cate and Ian stop for a night. Ian is a tabloid reporter with a rude manner. He drinks to much and smoke to many fags. Cate is a serious, shy and young woman with fits during the play. They talk about Ian's health problems and Cate's life. Ian abuses Cate later, this takes place in the off. As the soldier enters, Ian got raped by the soldier. The torture for the audience continues as the play goes on. Ian eats a dead baby and Cate got raped for bread and a bottle of gin at the end.
Sarah Kane showed how the atrocities of war have a connection with the daily behaviour to each other. A child abuse and the raping of a woman have the same defects to the soul on a lower level. The play is a mixture of emotional and physical violence. This makes the play very unbearable for the audience. Cate is the only light in the play. She has a religious belief after all and she is showing her social care as she feeds the blind Ian in the last scene.
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on 19 May 2015
Needed this play as I was studying it at University. Exactly what it says.
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on 31 March 2015
the subtext is an important factor
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2010
Blasted eh? It's not bad. That's not to say it's good either, for me the play was a little over the top, too over the top for it's purpose which, as I understand it, is to highlight what it would be like if a war - like that of the Yugoslavian war from which many of the events in the play are drawn - were to hit the UK; in this case Leeds.

It is shocking and short, it can easily be read in one sitting which is handy, I wouldn't have wanted to come back to this play a couple of times just to finish it; it's certainly not Hamlet. If you like your plays and enjoy reading them as well as seeing them as far as modern "in-your-face-theatre" goes, this is considered right up there obtaining much better reviews the second time around, coincidentally after Kane's death? I'll say nothing.

As i said if you like to read plays, give it a go, it's certainly interesting. If you're a fan of Edward Bond, particularly 'Saved' then give this a go, see if you can find any links. Kane was a huge fan of Bond and particularly that play.

Blasted (Methuen Modern Plays) - Not worth the money I paid for this particular one, only because you can buy the complete collection of her plays for a very similar dime. Go elsewhere and buy them all for a similar price.
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