on 22 August 2004
This is an intriguing drama, which involves ten different characters (five male, five female), and the sexual games they play in turn-of-the-century Vienna.
It takes the form of ten duologues, opening with a seduction scene between 'the prostitute' and 'the soldier'. They flirt, argue, lie, and finally have sex. The scene ends there, and the following is between the soldier and 'the chambermaid', who is in turn seduced by the soldier. She goes on to seduce the 'young gentleman' in the next scene; he seduces 'the young wife'...etc. The play goes round in a 'sexual merry-go-round' until we eventually meet the prostitute again.
It is a story of sexual promiscuity, about the 'facade' of seduction, and the danger of confusing sex with love. It also presents an interesting idea about the nature of sex: that it is sex, not death, that is the great 'leveller' - this is a play where chambermaids sleep with gentlemen, prostitutes with counts.
It is also, of course, brilliantly funny, sharply observed, and always pacey drama.