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Bent

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,354 ratings  ·  73 reviews
(Applause Books). Martin Sherman's worldwide hit play Bent took London by storm in 1979 when it was first performed by the Royal Court Theatre, with Ian McKellen as Max (a character written with the actor in mind). The play itself caused an uproar. "It educated the world," Sherman explains. "People knew about how the Third Reich treated Jews and, to some extent, gypsies ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published 1979)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,354 ratings  ·  73 reviews


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Leah Craig
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well! This utterly destroyed me, and I only read the transcript. How did humans who saw this play survive?? I’m done, bye world
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow.
Judd Lear Silverman
Enormously Powerful

Revisiting this play is as upsetting and moving as ever. It also talks of gay men as survivors who can and do love--even before the AIDS epidemic hit. It is an important chapter of our legacy. There will always be hate. There will always be survival. There will always be love--as long as we are human.
Miss Maya
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so I finished this in two hours (hadn't done THAT in a while) and it's a play unlike any other, even when it comes to the Holocaust, there's nothing Bent, at least not that I know of. Prepared to be amazed, heartbroken and be shattered into pieces inside but somehow it's totally worth it.
anna (readingpeaches)
rep: gay mc, gay characters
tw: homophobia, concentration camp, torture, murder, forced necrophilia & pedophilia, suicide


i don't know what i was expecting when i started reading a play abt gay men during the holocaust... i'm just glad i didn't see this live & instead cried for an hour in my empty living room
Milan/zzz
The story that is not familiar to many. We all know (as we surely should) how Nazi regime treated Jews. We, however don't know how the same regime treated homosexuals. And I'm sure many would be very surprised to know that equally as Nazis labeled Jews they labeled homosexuals, though not with the same label. While Jews had yellow David star, gays had pink triangle. Now, pink triangle might ring the bell to someone. I didn't know till recently, my visit to Amsterdam where I stumbled upon the ...more
Sookie
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
Is it possible to feel joyous to read something as depressing as persecution of homosexuals during WWII Nazi regime? Yes, its possible and Sherman has delivered it.

Max and Rudy find love and affection during a time period where being anything other than what they were not expected to be, they were stripped of their humanity. Homosexuality wasn't just frowned upon but had serious and severe consequences. Exploring sexuality wasn't just an option but was a crime. Amidst all this, Max and Rudy live
...more
Doreen
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Usually I read the book and then see the movie. With, "Bent", I saw the play maybe 30 years ago???! From the play, I only remembered that a friend played one of the two lead roles, and his acting was amazing! I remembered that the play was performed on a plain, stark stage and that it focused on two gay men in a Nazi camp, during the Holocaust. That's pretty much all I remembered.
Today, I read the play. I just finished reading it this morning! The dialogue is simple and direct. For me, there
...more
Chase
A magnificent, and sentimental, work surrounding sexuality and love during WWII. Really spectacular is what I will leave it at! And a favorite.
zachary
"We were real."

Absolutely brilliant. It's raw, a story both about violence and love. I also appreciate the fact that the main character has flaws, and honestly not too likeable for most of the play. But here, that's one of the things that makes it so raw and just... real. It's not necessarily about Max while at the same time being exactly about who he is. If anything, the last ten pages are incredibly powerful; raw and emotional in a way that will haunt me for a long time.
Hannah
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I have ever read a play so quickly; this was moving and gripping
Dee Dee OConnor
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
A powerful experience on a little known aspect of the Holocaust. I imagine this is devastatingly amazing on stage.
Erastes
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-historical
Review of the Film:

The powerful and moving film adaptation of Martin Sherman’s award-winning stage play. For almost 20 years, Bent has stunned theatre audiences around the world. Now adapted for the big screen by the author himself, this inspiring tale of love over oppression has even greater power and poignancy. Set amidst the decadence of pre-war fascist Germany, Bent is an emotional tale of love, as three homosexual men fight for survival in the face of persecution.

Directed by Sean Mathias
...more
Cordula
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bent has to be one of my all-time favourite plays. It is gut-wrenching, incredibly powerful and beautifully crafted. Sherman tells a Holocaust story that no one I was aware of had ever told before - the story of the persecution of homosexuals, who were the lowest of the low in the concentration camp pecking order. Written in 1979 the struggle of Max to accept himself, to learn to love in the most unlikely of places, still carries meaning today.

***Spoiler***Alert***

But it is not all doom and
...more
Emma Getz
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama, favorite-plays
“When I’m not dreaming about rocks, I’m dreaming about you.”


This is a short, tragic play that shocks you and devastates you but is an incredible insight into how quickly peoples lives were uprooted and destroyed during the Holocaust perhaps before they even had the chance to understand. That being said, it’s incredibly relevant and I think a revival would be very topical right now. Max’s character arc ends with his redemption in finally learning to love, and realize who he is. Very, very sad but
...more
Jenny Yates
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it

This classic play was first produced in 1979, and was an important milestone in the public’s awareness of gay issues. It follows the story of a gay man in Nazi Germany – dealing first with social oppression and then with the cruelty of a concentration camp. It’s very powerful.
Andrew Wale
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Affecting, urgent and disturbing x
Becca Pirie
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t really gathered my thoughts on this play yet, so I don’t really know what to say about it here. It belongs to a very small group of texts that portray a fictional representation of the queer experience of the Holocaust, and an individualized experience of working in Dachau concentration camp. I can’t yet speak to the historical accuracy of certain elements, though in his book ‘Holocaust Drama’, Plunka has claimed it is “surprisingly” historically accurate given that not much ...more
Ella
Jun 03, 2019 added it
I had to read this for school and I won't rate it. It was awful. Not the play itself. The topic. It was gruesome and horrible and probably really important to know about.
I'll advise sensitive readers to read it either very carefully or not at all.
I agree with all the five star reviews though, but I rate books according to my enjoyment, and I obviously didn't enjoy this even though it was objectively good.

This review is a mess and I'm not looking forward to relive the play in class today when
...more
Chris
A well-written drama that I can imagine is very powerful on the stage. However, it doesn't do very much to really explore its premise - a gay man sent to a concentration camp - other than to use it as window dressing for a brutal and tragic story. Some excellent character work and a series of brutal horrors, can't quite elevate the core simplicity of the storytelling.
Tyler Moore
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a spectacular play depicting LGBT life during the Holocaust era. The ending wasn't quite what I had expected until I considered the real-life basis of the plot. This is a must read book for anyone interested in LGBT literature.
Alice Rachel
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book or watch the play or the movie.
I am equally infuriated, disgusted, appalled, and heartbroken, though I am not surprised. It is a sad world when such atrocities do not surprise you.
Gabie (OwlEyesReviews)
3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed it. I'm a little hesitant on my rating because I want to analyze it in my class before I make a solid rating. But, as of right now, I enjoyed it.
Amanda
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I guess I didn't need my heart anyway...
Bobby Sullivan
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Haunting. Horrifying. And a very important read, especially in the age of Trump, as the walls close in.
Jason Francey
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful story about an often untold history.
Connel Burnett
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
very few plays hit hard with me emotionally. This story very much got to me.
M.A. Grant
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other
This play broke my heart and I couldn't stop reading once I started. So glad to have found it, even if it will take a long time to process it properly.
Momina Masood
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-lit, plays, lgbtq
Heartbroken. Wonderfully written. A privilege to have come across this.
Andrew Rowe
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“If you want to stay alive, he cannot exist”. Bent is written by gay play write Martin Sherman. Set during the Second World War the play uncovers the horrific treatment of homosexuals during the Nazi regime. Max is a gay German who would rather wear the Jewish star than be known as gay in the concentration camp. Horst is a gay German who wears the pink triangle with pride; a heart-warming relationship flourishes between these two men. The play is shocking, heart-breaking, happy, sad a true ...more
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