Dorian Gray

Posted on: 23 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Oscar Wilde's tale is perfect for a modern dance adaptation.

The destructive power of beauty that fuelled one of Oscar Wilde’s greatest works has now been transferred from page to stage in Matthew Bourne’s stunning dance drama entitled simply Dorian Gray that updates the story to the present day.

Set in the image obsessed world of contemporary art and fashion, this ‘black fairy tale’ tells the story of an exceptionally alluring young man who makes a pact with the devil.

Amongst London’s beautiful people Dorian Gray is the ‘It Boy’, an icon of beauty and truth in an increasingly ugly world. 

As he is propelled to the top as the face of ‘Immortal’ men’s fragrance and gets caught up in a hedonistic, devil-may-care whirl of drink and drugs, his character shows a spiritual and moral decay which results in the murder of his male lover and his own eventual death.

The blind pursuit of pleasure and the darkness and corruption that lie beneath a charming façade that Wilde explored in such depth in his cautionary tale have never been more timely and are accurately conveyed in Bourne’s thrilling production.

With remarkable energy, the cast weave themselves around each other and the revolving set to Terry Davies’s expansive and dramatic score that perfectly captures the mood of the piece.  Indeed the dancers are sinewy, agile and athletic, conveying in movement and mime what Wilde conveyed in words.

Richard Winsor as the eponymous anti-hero brings a brooding sexuality to the role of the protagonist, displaying just the right blend of arrogance and naivety to make his fall both credible and awful. 

Dorian's corrupting influence Lord Henry here becomes Lady H, played by Michela Meazza, a powerful, iconic figure in art-fashion circles who takes Dorian under her wing and introduces him to a world he is eager to explore.

A further word of praise must go to Aaron Sillis as hirsute fashion photographer Basil Hallward and Dorian’s lover.

Go Wilde and see this absorbing study of greed, vanity and violence with the distinctive Bourne trademark before it finishes its all too short run. The production has transferred from the Edinburgh International Festival where it was a sellout.

Laurence Green

Booking Information

Dorian Gray is at Theatre Royal Newcastle from 23rd to 27th September 2008.

Box Office: 08448 11 21 21 or:

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