The Picture Of Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray is probably Oscar Wilde’s most well-known work. Jealous of his own portrait because, unlike him, it will never grow old and ugly, Dorian Gray offers to sell his soul so that he will always be young and beautiful. Thereafter, whatever his life of debauchery and evil, he never shows any signs of it and never ages; instead his portrait, which is kept hidden away in his attic, ages and degenerates in his place.

This new production uses an all female cast, which initially is slightly jarring but this feeling very quickly wears off. Wilde’s characters are, in any case, often foppish and effeminate and Dorian Gray himself works particularly well when portrayed by a young woman.

There is almost no fixed scenery in the production. Empty frames are carried in and out when needed and they are used to symbolise mirrors, paintings and even tables. Puppets are also used in one or two scenes, but these are less successful and the production would probably work equally well without them.

There is undoubtedly an air of menace and horror throughout the whole play and it is not surprising that it was regarded as very shocking when it was written. This production manages to bring a freshness to the story while retaining the claustrophobic atmosphere and the sense of inevitability hanging over Dorian Gray’s future. Well worth seeing.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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The Blurb

C SoCo. 30th July - 25th August (not 11th) 20:45 (50m)

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