The Surrender (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

The Surrender

BDSM ballet with humour and depth

While its subject matter might be on the more risqué side of the Fringe, The Surrender is far from mere titillation, and is bold and direct from its first words. The story of a former ballerina who finds liberation in sexual extremity, it comes fresh from a sold-out run at Spain’s National Theatre, and its sexual premise unfolds into a story of self-discovery.

Adapted from Toni Bentley’s memoir, The Surrender exposes the heroine’s needs and presents them as part of her journey to find both satisfaction and God. She is unapologetic about her submissive desires – only rarely do her descriptions appeal to the erotic – but accepts them as part of her life. Pleasure is presented as the greatest good, intimate and generous: the glamour of many other sexual memoirs is replaced with serious thoughts on God’s absence and sexual politics. The production has the atmosphere of a sensual ritual.

Isabelle Stoffel captures the sensuality and intensity of the memoir, and the tone of acceptance is enhanced by her determination. Less spectacular than the synopsis suggests, The Surrender is a solid, honest confessional.

Gilded Balloon, 622 6552, until 26 Aug, 1.30pm, £12–£14 (£10–£12).

The Surrender

  • 4 stars

Spanish National Theatre (Centro Dramático Nacional), Traspasada and Jim Haynes. Direct from a sold-out run at the National Theatre of Spain comes Toni Bentley's notorious, hilarious, erotic memoir and international bestseller. 'An extraordinary book by a woman with an ax, and an ass, to grind' (Barry Humphries), adapted…