Austrian playwright Ferdinand Bruckner’s Pains Of Youth is set in Vienna in 1923. A discontented post-war generation diagnose youth to be their sickness and do their best to destroy it.

The play centres on six sexually entangled medical students who are restlessly wandering in and out of a boarding house, cramming, drinking, taunting and spying. Freder sets about savagely experimenting with the young, pretty maid, with half an eye on his former lover Desiree, a wild, disillusioned aristocrat. Petrell abandons Marie for the ruthless underdog Irene. Marie doesn’t waste any time weeping – Desiree wants her.

Director Katie Mitchell and playwright Martin Crimp team up once again for this new version of Bruckner’s erotically charged, shocking play. The pair previously worked together on The Seagull and Attempts On Her Life at the National, and The City at the Royal Court. Mitchell’s other work at the National includes Waves, …Some Trace Of Her, Iphigenia Et Aulis and Women of Troy.

For more about Pains Of Youth at the National Theatre, Cottesloe, read the First Night Feature.

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