Tuesday 31 October 2017

The Extraordinary Cabaret of Dorian Gray

The Extraordinary Cabaret of Dorian Gray
The Extraordinary Cabaret of Dorian Gray; Ruby in the Dust Theatre; The Pleasance
Reviewed by Anthony Evans on Oct 27 2017 Star rating: 2.5
Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray as part of HeadFirst Productions A Festival of Love, Sex & Death

Ruby in the Dust Theatre brought Oscar Wilde’s philosophical tale to the Pleasance this Friday (27 October 2017). The cast, lead by Adonis Jenieco as the eponymous aesthete Dorian Gray, who confuses Art with Life, gave us a “steampunk” inspired iteration of the protagonist’s tragic decline into decadence, in a show entitled The Extraordinary Cabaret of Dorian Gray.

The problem with using an epithet in the title is that my expectations were unrealistically raised. Turns out it was a rather prosaic retelling of the book’s narrative. There were tranches of Wildean dialogue that drove the show’s narrative, a peppering of catchy tunes and campy dance routines, but it’s reductive nature did precious little to illuminate the complex themes and Aestheticism of the book.

Playing on a near empty stage there was nothing to illustrate Wilde’s “essay on decorative art”. If you’re looking for the rhythms and textures of the prose that provide the sensations of Wilde’s transcendent aesthetic vision you’d be out of luck too; and gone is the danger - the sexual paranoia, the keenly felt pleasure of leading a double life that leads to anarchy and self-destruction.

So what are we left with? A charming and enthusiastic ensemble cast telling the Gothic story of one man’s Faustian pact. Art for Arts sake is one thing but this does nothing to dignify the art of beauty.
Reviewed by Anthony Evans

The Extraordinary Cabaret of Dorian Gray
Friday 27 October 2017
Ruby in the Dust Theatre
A Festival of Sex, Love and Death
Head First Productions at the Pleasance
Adonis Jenieco, Anu Ogunmefun, Toby Osmond, Joe Cushley, Jo Ashe, Penelope Simons, Lesley Ann Acheson
Director/Writer : Linnie Reedman
Composer : Joe Evans

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