by Linnie Reedman music & lyrics by Joe Evans based on The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Riverside Studios 1 Crisp Road W6 9RL To 10 May 2014.
Tue–Sun 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.

TICKETS: 0208 237 1111.
Review: William Russell 22 April.

Dynastic duo lack dynamic drama.
There are two very good reasons for seeing this rather soporific adaptation of Wilde’s famous tale of the portrait in the attic which decays and corrupts while its subject remains youthful. The stage debuts of two members of two celebrated theatre clans.

It is frankly a slog of an evening, and writer Linnie Reedman has a tin ear when it comes to putting words in the mouths of Victorians. But as Dorian Gray Jack Fox is terrific. He has just the right slightly off-kilter cherubic looks the Victorians adored in young men and underneath he simmers with suitable sexy nastiness as he goes to the bad.

As Sibyl Vane, the young actress he seduces and destroys, Daisy Bevan, also making her stage debut, looks lovely and she is even better in act two when, Sibyl dead, she plays Ganymede, Dorian’s current toy boy. In travesty she is every inch the Redgrave she happens to be. The girl has presence.

Reedman’s gimmick is to have the tale recounted by the flamboyant actor-manager, played to the hilt in a red sequined cloak by Fenton Gray, of the troupe in which Sibyl is appearing as various Shakespearian heroines.

Occasionally the action is interrupted by songs and other members of the cast stalk around in masks being sinister. Joe Wredden oozes menace as evil corrupter Lord Henry, and Antony Jardine as the man who painted the fateful portrait provides strong support.

But the tale is loosely constructed and one is never made to care about what happens to any of them. Perhaps, too, authors should not direct their own plays.

In the programme we are told about John Gray, a young man of outstanding beauty, the model for Dorian, a boy so striking that people leaned out of their boxes at Covent Garden to take a better look.

At first John was delighted. Then he realised the implications of being taken for a Dorian and Wilde duly denied he was. Now there is a play in waiting. As to what became of him, he ended up a Roman Catholic priest in Edinburgh.

Dorian Gray: Jack Fox.
Sibyl Vane: Daisy Bevan.
Basil Hallward: Antony Jardine.
Lord Henry: Joe Wredden.
Lady Henry: Shelley Lang.
Mr Isaacs: Fenton Gray.
Lady Windermere/Millicent Rose: Alma Fournier-Gaballo.

Director: Linnie Reedman.
Designer/Costume: Katharine Heath.
Lighting: Cat Webb.
Sound/Composer: Joe Evans.
Musical Director: Adam Morris.

2014-04-23 08:07:11

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