Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

“Stylish and intelligent adaptation”

When Oscar Wilde published his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1891, it caused a scandal. The anti-hero of the title sells his soul for eternal youth and lives a life of violent hedonism until his conscience catches up with him. Sean Aydon’s intelligent adaptation for Tilted Wig embraces the mood and tone of Wilde’s original as well as its epigrammatic witticisms.

It’s not overly reverential, though. Aydon’s changes make this production both accessible and at times genuinely unsettling. Things are helped in no small way by Sarah Beaton’s set design, a metaphor for the play itself, featuring rotting plaster on the walls of an otherwise tastefully appointed Victorian sitting room.

There are some fine performances too, not least from Emmerdale actor Jonathan Wrather, as a supremely decadent Lord Henry Wotton, and Gavin Fowler as the transformative Dorian, switching seamlessly from narcissistic child to knife-wielding psycho with utter conviction. The ill-fated Sybil Vane is played with appropriate innocence by Kate Dobson, but it remains an underwritten role considering the character’s impact on the story.

There are a few missteps along the way. A stylised sex-and-drugs orgy just feels a bit naff and the run-up to the ending lacks dramatic momentum. Otherwise, this touring production is an articulate and provocative adaptation of Wilde’s only novel.

Related to this Review

The Importance of Being EarnestThe Importance of Being Earnest

Production Details
Production nameThe Picture of Dorian Gray
VenueRichmond Theatre
StartsApril 22, 2019
EndsApril 27, 2019, then touring until May 18
AuthorOscar Wilde
AdaptorSean Aydon
DirectorSean Aydon
Set designerSarah Beaton
Lighting designerMatt Haskins
Sound designerJon Mcleod
CastAdele James, Daniel Goode, Gavin Fowler, Jonathan Wrather, Kate Dobson, Phoebe Pryce, Samuel Townsend
Production managerPaul Debreczeny
Stage managerDavid North
ProducerBromley, Churchill Theatre, Malvern Theatres, Tilted Productions
VerdictStylish and intelligent adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel featuring some strong performances
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In