Directed by Mark Collier
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Written by Oscar Wilde in 1890 and his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is a haunting story of debauchery and scandal in high society. It tells of a young man, Dorian Gray, painted by his friend in his youth, who sinks deeply into a frivolous lifestyle of selfish abandon, seemingly unchanged by corruption and untouched by age. But behind a locked door, beneath a heavy curtain, Dorian’s portrait tells a different story.
Having Wilde’s words to start from provides you with a very good foundation but does not guarantee a good performance. Thankfully, Box Tale Soup’s adaptation of the story is captivating from the start.
Only three actors (two men and one woman) provide all the characterisation as the drama unfolds, with the clever use of puppetry to bulk out the cast. The piece starts in an artists’ gallery, nine portraits are displayed. Eight of the picture frames have puppets hanging within them that become characters within the play as the performance continues.
The interplay between the performers is seasoned and seamless as they make quick changes and adopt different characters. There is also good use of original music and group movement to change from scene to scene and adjust mood within the piece.
As one of the more funny lines from the play states: “It’s not good for one’s morals to see bad acting”. Pleasingly, as the play comes to an end, we leave with morals intact.
Runs 7 May at The Warren Studio 2 | Image: Contributed
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