The Picture of Dorian Gray - Richmond Theatre (atgtickets.com)
Tilted Wig Productions, Malvern Theatres, and Churchill Theatre present:

Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray 


The play begins as middle aged portrait artist Basil tell his friend playboy Lord Henry Wooton about his obsession with his latest model young Dorian Grey. Lord Henry is eager to meet to meet the young man who has inspired such feelings in his friend and sticks arounds for an introduction, much to Basil’s dismay they get on well and Lord Henry begins to lead the naive young Dorian astray. 
None the less Basil manages to complete the portrait which both he and lord Henry declare to be his finest work to date. 

On seeing the portrait Dorian falls in love with himself and sells his soul to the devil in exchange that portrait will age and wither while Dorian keeps his youthful good looks.....

I felt the actors rattled through this scene a bit, and sadly there were more than few Wildian witticisms that got lost as result. However as the play continued they seemed to settle in and find their metier  

 Gavin Fowler was excellent as foppish young Dorian, who despite becoming more evil through out the course of the play still retains not only his youthful good looks but also a childlike demeanour; although he inflicts pain he refuses to deal with any unpleasantness or face up to the consequences of his actions.


For example in his first act of wickedness bringing about the suicide of young actress Sibyl Vane; obsessively courting her and then abandoning her as soon as she fails to live up to his expectations. I thought Kate Dobson was very well cast in the role of Sibyl, her Northern accent was great way to highlight the class distinction between herself and the upper class Dorian. 
  
In Wilde's original script although Dorians sins don't show on his face, the worse he gets the uglier the painting (the true reflection of his soul) becomes. However in this particular telling of the story we never actually see the painting which I thought worked well as a plot device as it makes it less of a faustian horror story and more of a morality tale about the dangers of selfishness and unbridled hedonism. 


The set was a beautifully designed imitation of an Edwardian living room with a striking turquoise and brown colour scheme that perfectly suggested faded grandeur. The only problem is it stays that way through the entire course of the play. The scene changes were all shown through the use of costume change or additional props which at times was too subtle, I think there was much more that could have been done there, especially during the party and opium den scenes.
Also worth mentioning, although Phoebe Pryce was great as lord Henrys wife Victoria, for some reason she was the only one not wearing Edwardian costume.



As the play unwinds to its inevitable conclusion I thought Daniel Goode’s final scene as Basil begging Dorian to change his wicked ways was very good, I always thought that Wilde put a lot of himself into this play and that the character of Basil who’s obsession with the beautiful but heartless Dorian who ultimately destroys him was eerily prescient of Wilde’s own downfall caused by his affair with young lover Bosie.



 To summarise you all know the story, and this is a decent re-telling of it.  While there are certainly few tweaks that could be made, that doesn’t stop it being enjoyable.


The portrait of Dorian grey will be at Richmond theatre until the 27th of April