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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
'Shocking' sex play opens
XXX
Sonia Segura (standing) and Teresa Vallejo rehearse for the show
A play described as "shocking" and the most sexually explicit ever staged in the UK has made its debut in London.

XXX, performed by Spanish theatre group La Fura dels Baus, features scenes of graphic sex acts said to be "beyond hardcore".

The two-hour multi-media show involves naked actors performing simulated sex acts in front of video screens depicting further explicit sexual activity.

The show takes place at the 400-seat Riverside Studios venue in Hammersmith, west London.

Based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade, the performance "aims to challenge boundaries of what is acceptable without a moral judgment".

It is very, very graphic, probably the most explicit, shocking thing ever seen in a British theatre
William Burdett-Coutts, Riverside Studios artistic director

The play, created by Argentine-born Valentina Carrasco, has caused outrage in some European cities because of its themes of sexual violence.

It has been cleared by London's Metropolitan police vice squad after officers found no evidence of a criminal offence.

They watched a video of the performance and said there was no illegal activity because the sex scenes had been simulated.

During Tuesday night's opening performance an actor planted in the audience went on stage and performed a simulated sex act with a female performer.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said no complaints had been received about the performance.

He said any complaint received would be investigated in the normal way.

William Burdett-Coutts, artistic director at the Riverside, said; "It is very, very graphic, probably the most explicit, shocking thing ever seen in a British theatre, and we thought very long and hard about putting it on."

It looks like real sex and the actors are often naked but it is just touching and kissing
Carlos Padrissa, co-producer
Carlos Padrissa, co-producer and co-writer of the production, said it was not pornography but art.

"The sex in XXX is not real but virtual," he said.

"It is all theatre. It looks like real sex and the actors are often naked but it is just touching and kissing, there is no penetration."

It is based on the Marquis de Sade's 1795 book Philosophy of the Bedroom.

Audience members will be able to send mobile phone text messages about their sexual fantasies to the actors during the show.

The performance group was formed 20 years ago as a Catalan street theatre and circus troupe.

Its name translates roughly as "the fury from the sewer" and the group describes itself as "detonator(s) of the urban situation".




SEE ALSO:
Protest over sex exhibition
16 Mar 03  |  England


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