Wilde Without the Boy

This is a haunting and powerful solo show that lingers with you long after leaving the theatre, sticking closely to Oscar Wilde’s signature style: simultaneously intellectual and accessible.

This is a show that makes me want to go away, find a copy of the script, and go through it all over again.

Just as Wilde is about to be moved to a new prison – so that he can be released without a media fracas – his manuscript, De Profundis, is returned to him. His reading of the letter is interspersed with sections of Wilde’s trial and extracts of The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Wilde’s poem about a fellow convict’s execution, and life in the jail.

The show is a dramatization of Oscar Wilde’s 50,000 word long letter De Profundis, to Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas), his lover, written whilst Wilde was incarcerated in Reading Gaol for ‘gross indecency with another man’. The original letter already has the feeling of a dramatic monologue, which is unsurprising, considering its author - Gareth Armstrong had a stroke of genius in deciding to dramatize the work for stage.

Oscar Wilde is played excellently by Gerard Logan, a performer experienced with solo shows, who handles the character of Wilde with eerie accuracy. It feels like Wilde himself is in the room. Logan’s mannerisms are close enough to evoke Wilde’s characters, but too human to be fictional. His Wilde is utterly believable in an incredibly moving performance, tracing Wilde’s transition from hollowness, as he describes his broken pleading with Bosie, through duress to his eventual redemption.

Essentially it is a story of someone extracting themselves from an abusive relationship, a tale made even more tragic when you know they returned to each other again a little after Wilde was released, for a few months. It is a painful experience for Wilde to relive and a cathartic experience to watch. In the end, it is Wilde’s noble lack of anger that is really fascinating to observe, and provides a surprisingly uplifting end to the piece about prison and injustice.

The only moment from the entire show that is more miss than hit is the small section of The Ballad of Reading Gaol. It is very peculiar to see Wilde shouting and stamping about the stage repetitively; it doesn’t pull on any emotion, and instead creates confusion. A slightly dodgy light focus also causes the lion in the royal coat of arms to be missing his crown, though the design is mainly simple and effective.

This is a show that makes me want to go away, find a copy of the script, and go through it all over again. You don’t need to know anything about Wilde in order to enjoy the core story of injustice and tumultuous relationships; knowledge just heightens the pleasure.

Reviews by M Johnson

Old Fire Station - Cafe

An Intervention

M6 Theatre Company

Little Gift

Assembly Roxy

Thor and Loki

Paradise in The Vault


Gilded Balloon Teviot





Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A dramatisation of De Profundis, Oscar Wilde's letter from his Reading Gaol cell to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. Two years previously, Wilde had been imprisoned for acts of gross indecency with other males. Loving yet accusatory, soaringly intellectual yet passionate, Wilde Without the Boy is a glimpse into the titanic, bruised soul of one of literature's greatest geniuses. Performed by Olivier Award nominee Gerard Logan. Directed and dramatised by Gareth Armstrong. 'Logan's performance oozes wit, intelligence and pain. Delivered with the exact tone and mannerism one could expect of Wilde himself' (Buxton Festival Fringe).

Most Popular See More

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets