Around 30 theatre-goers a night are walking out early from a Royal Shakespeare Company production featuring sex, nudity, rape and torture.
Scenes in the controversial play Marat/Sade are so explicit that on one night alone up to 80 people left Stratford-upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre early.
Written by Swedish playwright Paul Weiss, it has been shocking audiences around the world since it was first performed in 1963.
Kate Dee, 25, from Worcester, was one who left the theatre at the interval.
“I knew it was supposed to be edgy but in reality it was the worst kind of filth dressed up as quality theatre,” she said.
Michael Boyd, the RSC’s Artistic Director, defended the play.
He said: “It’s a controversial play because the subjects it explores – insanity, individuality, sexuality, the abuse of power, freedom versus control – are just as sensitive today as they were in the 1960s.
“Theatre should bring people together and take the risk of sharing sensitivities in public.”
RSC press chief Dean Asker said: “The largest number of people who have left is around 80. but on average 30 people are deciding not to return each night after the interval.”