No Exit
Act Provocateur International
´Hell is other people` Garcin concludes after violent fights, mental and physical, with his hell-mates. Sartre`s revelation about human nature is set in a claustrophobic atmosphere: darkness, narrow walls, heat. Soon the characters find themselves struggling with their fate - shouts, silence, and desperation when facing eternity with each other. The actors have to go to their limits but this is a well chosen cast who crept into their roles, transporting their helplessness and let the audience hold their breath during monologues. The childish playground violence spoils scenes that could have been solved more maturely to fit the rest of the play, but overall this is an absorbingly unavoidable performance.

August 2004


No Exit



C cubed, until Aug 30 (not 17), 20:20, ?8.50 (?7.50), Act Provocateur International.




FORGET FIRE and brimstone; Hell is as simple as a locked room confining a disparate trio. After all, three's a crowd, and with a good dose of psychological torment, guilt, bitter hatred and sexual jealousy thrown in, the condemned souls have torture enough for an eternity of damnation.

Victor Sobchak's adaptation of Sartre's darkly existential play captures a strong sense of the unbearable and inescapable tension, guilt and desire oppressing the three characters. What with the stifling mugginess of the venue, the sombre lighting and unflinching simulations of frenzied sex, the audience too is plunged with no exit into this uncomfortable claustrophobia.

Well-cast and adeptly directed, the actors handle demanding roles with impressive confidence and the intensity of their performances compensates for the no-frills staging of the show.

thrill: Assured and energetic acting.



Hell is other people - such a simple statement, with such gruelling consequences.

The essence of Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism is captured well in this new production by Act Provocateur International. In Victor Sobchak’s skilful hands, the philosophical discourse about the meaning of life and alienation, that underlies Sartre’s work, gains an unpredicted force. The ever-changing relationships between three damned souls are portrayed with frenzied energy and relish, and the scenes of sexual nature balance on a thin line between allure and repulsion, never missing a step.

The actors portray their characters with the vim of emotional aerialists, playing off each other, colliding with each other, in a composite game of human power-struggles. Dominique Pannell is electrifying as Inez, a profoundly corrupt figure wallowing in her own zealous anguish, while Nika Khitrova plays a catlike, sexually charged Estelle with the right combination of fragility and moral apathy. Andy McQuade’s Garcin steals the show, as a tormented journalist in pursuit of redemption, with McQuade honing his interpretation of a Sartresque haunted anti-hero to perfection. Sal Esen is so hilarious as the Valet, bondage-like wear and all, that it is a real shame his presence in the play is so brief.

The use of lighting, exceptionally good for C Electric one must add, accentuates the atmosphere of menace that bubbles under the surface, and attributes to some visually gripping moments. The show could benefit from a tad more imaginative set design though. Act Provocateur International are renowned for their minimalist approach to staging, which places further focus on the performers. However, Sartre’s text may require a bit more expressionistic approach to staging in order to complete an otherwise carefully drawn illusion. This minor fault is richly compensated by the lighting and sound, and the overall impression is of a show that is cleverly put together and confidently acted.
© Ksenija Horvat 29 August 2005 - Published on


No Exit

Following on to last years critically acclaimed success of this adaptation of Sartre’s play, for their 10th Anniversary Act Provocateur International are restaging it once more, this time slightly longer as part of their contribution to th Fringe 2005.
Three primary characters, Garcin, a South American editor and maybe traitor played by Andy McQuade, Inez, a postal worker played by Domaniquue Pannell and Estelle, a socialite, Nika Khitrova are confined together in Hell, but where are the torturers?
This is a powerful and graphic performance from all of the above as the three incarcerates discover that maybe instruments are not required for the torture and maybe their personalities and the sexual attraction, and aversion are all that is required.
I thought that last years production was powerful, but I hadn’t been prepared for what was on offer this year. Okay, for some it may be too graphic and occasionally too violent, but it is a really strongly directed piece, and the acting performances are second to none.


The Prague Post

No Exit by Act Provocateur International

Sunday, May 25

Published on: 23. 05. 2008 14:03:41


Hell is … isolation, eternal darkness? Lakes of fire and red-hot pincers? Walking over Charles Bridge on a spring Sunday? Close, but not quite. College freshmen and anyone with a continued interest in existentialism know that, as Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, “Hell is other people.” This production of the philosopher/novelist’s 1944 rumination on low morals (and their consequences) began my Fringe experience on a high note.

 The unlucky souls Garcin, Inez, and Estelle, George Xander, Lucinda Westcar and Claire Watson Parr breathe vicious life into the characters. Being dead in general might not have been their only problem; their dialogue could’ve arrived DOA from the page to the stage. Instead, this highly sexualized interpretation of No Exit is pulled off by actors who uncannily inhabit their roles.

 Sartre’s vision of hell — where people are their own tormentors — makes so much sense that you feel uncomfortable with it anyway. Watching how quickly the dead want to get it on with each other, and for what reasons, is even more deliciously squirm-inducing. As the three reveal their secrets and desires to each other, the tension is palpable.

 The cavelike Divadlo Inspirace theater is the perfect setting. It looks and feels sufficiently like a dungeon, conveying a physical and emotional claustrophobia that’s necessary to the performance. Afterward, Xander told me they had just played a fest in Budapest, and preferred this space much more.

 London-based API was co-founded by director Victor Sobchak, whose experimental theater made its “scandalous reputation with productions of Sartre, Beckett, Ionesco and Pinter,” notes the program. More work from him and these fine actors would be welcome at any Fringe.


Divadlo Inspirace, Malostranské nam. 13, May 26-June 1 at 5 p.m.

Expats Prague, Czech Republic

Written by Wendy Wrangham

No Exit

The mission, should you choose to accept it, has always been to see every show, although this year, co-founder Carole Wears adds an extra challenge to our timetabling: in the spirit of the wildly eclectic nature of Fringe festivals, pick a performance you would normally avoid and broaden your horizons. I picked the theatre piece No Exit from Act Provocateur International as my eye-opener.

Aptly revolving around Sartre’s play that gave us the words “Hell is other people,” I was however converted by the measured performances of the trio and came to appreciate Estelle’s almost pitch-perfect channelling of the plummy tones of Penelope Keith. Three apparently blameless and recently deceased characters arrive in hell and are surprised it does not contain either a torturer or his instruments. It doesn’t take them long, however, to discover torture doesn’t have to entail red hot pokers. Alternatively ‘loving’ and hating each other (to satisfy to their own needs of course), they realise they are creating their own hell but are compelled to delve deeper into it nonetheless.

While their introspections sometimes drag, sex sells and Inez’s almost Elvis-like sneer and open-mouthed lust for Estelle results in some Sapphic shenanigans while Estelle simpers to the cowardly ego of Garcin. Good lighting and a wailing soundtrack over an almost bare set allows the audience to revel in the charged performances from the three leads. A devilish triple-pronged assault.

Nightly at 5pm at Divadlo Inspirace
English language, adults only

Article Published 26.05.2008

No Exit

Three characters trapped in a curiously sedated afterlife quickly discover that “Hell is other people” in Act Provocateur International’s adaptation of Sartre. Absorbing, compelling acting from George Xander, Lucinda Westcar, and Claira Watson Parr dominates as the three characters are fully fleshed out into the perfect antagonists for one another; spending 60 minutes with them, however, can’t be described as a pleasant experience. Our characters discover that “Hell is other people” rather early in the piece; I was slightly disappointed that the finale only underlined this basic premise rather than treading into deeper waters.

Written by Jason Pirodsky