Recently, I caught a performance of the Oscar Wilde classic The Picture of Dorian Gray. An immersive piece of theatre set in an actually lived-in Georgian townhouse, the play served as an excellent opportunity to enjoy a piece of great literature brought to life while getting to snoop around a bit in someone else’s home. If you’re planning to visit London before the end of September, this adaptation could prove a quirky and cultured item to your itinerary.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is being put on by The Alchemic Order, a London based collective “of creative minds, established in art, acting, architecture, stage design, music, contemporary dance, costume design, science and magic.” Says creative director, Samuel Orange(brother of Take That’s Jason Orange, who was in attendance the night I went), about the collective’s staging of Dorian:
With The Picture of Dorian Gray we want the audience to really inhabit the world of Wilde’s famous characters. Our team of creatives … have curated a magical world which pushes the boundaries of creative possibility, freeing the spectator to explore and delve deeper into the theatrical experience. On entering Dorian Gray’s residence we invite you to join us for an intimate evening of art, intrigue and distant pleasures. Be enchanted as Dorian’s odyssey unfolds around you.
I found the experience to be an intriguing adaptation which despite a few foibles and liberties taken achieved a fantastic results by striking the right (and rather eerie) tone and demonstrating a deep appreciation for the material. Acting varied in quality, but Wilde’s language more than carried itself and even a cold reading from people unfamiliar with this modern fable of vanity would have compelled. Set design made such a smart use of space that it effectively transformed the house into an integral character of the play.
The Picture of Dorian Gray runs Tuesday to Saturday until the 28th of September at an undisclosed location within a few minutes’ walk of Greenwich rail and DLR stations. (exact address revealed upon booking). Wednesday through Saturday, tickets are £35 (about $55) while on Tuesdays tickets cost £25 (roughly $40). The price includes wine and nibbles upon reception as well as at intermission and at the end of the play.
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