The story of Napoleon and Josephine must be as daunting to playwrights as it has
been irresistible to film producers....Pieter-Dirk Uys has turned the whole thing
inside out and in doing so has shown his sure dramatic sense and knowledge of human
motives. It is Josephine who occupies the centre of the drama and how absolutely
right this is, for when one looks at Napoleon and all his brothers and sisters during
this episode of history, it is Josephine who is the real magnet of their emotions
- whether these emotions were love, hatred or envy. She was the light and the rest
of them were moths. The fluent dialogue flashes along at an easy pace, the period
costumes and musical effects add much to the atmosphere and one brilliant scene gives
way to another. I would say it is Pieter-Dirk Uys's best so far.
– Brian Barrow, Cape Times, 19 August 1977
Pieter-Dirk Uys has imbued his work with a sense of bitchiness which makes it very
entertaining at times ... It has the potential of a play which will last the test
– Garalt MacLiam, The Star, 29 July 1983
Gedryf deur in haas ongelooflike verbeeldingskrag, 'n byna fanatiese soeke na dit
wat waarlik (teatraal gesproke) werk, 'n sterk ontwikkelde vermoe om dialoog sinvol,
ekonomies en vloeiend te maak en 'n onomslagtige daarstelling van 'n magdom gegewens
binne 'n fyn afgebakende dramatiese raamwerk, maak Pieter-Dirk Uys se The Rise and
Fall of the First Empress Bonaparte heerlike ontvlugting.
– Paul Boekkooi, Beeld, 1 Augustus 1983
Uys's play about Napoleon's first spouse is quite different from anything else he
has written — and is quite the most finished ... he treats the portentious stuff
of history rather as does an Anouilh or a Shaw. He keeps it lurking, peripherally,
in the wings while, on the forestage, he diverts with waggish humour.
– Raeford Daniel, Rand Daily Mail, 12 August 1983
This is a thoughtful and enjoyable play...any night you like, Josephine!
– Adrian Monteath, Sunday Times, 21 August 1983
Quite different from anything else Pieter-Dirk Uys has written, this study of the
marriage of Napoleon and the Creole beauty, Josephine de Beauharnais, and of the
bitter internecine feuding between the members of the Bonaparte Family, provides
an intelligent and highly entertaining evening.