Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray

photo: Ofer Zimdni

Oscar Wilde's story, of a beautiful young man who trades his soul for eternal youth and the hedonistic pleasures it offers, has too much wit to ever get old. Still, it's a disappointment that this slow-going production, adapted by Daniel Mitura, drains the source material of its vicarious fun and its sexual kick. It plays like a synopsis, with the events of the book lined up in order without the passion that would shape them into a compelling narrative. As Dorian Gray, the young innocent whose portrait ages while he remains young and grows increasingly soulless, Will Petre has some terrific moments (especially later in the play) despite being physically wrong for the role. He's a grown-up hunk, taller than the rest of the cast - not ideal for a character who needs to appear far more youthful than the men who are enthralled by him. The director (Henning Hegland) makes a couple of striking choices - there's an effective and creative scene transition which ages a couple of the characters - but too many moments between the actors have been left thin and underexplored. The show's most successful performance is by Vayu O'Donnell as cynical affected Henry; the actor keeps you aware that even the character's most inhumanly cold cruelties are rooted in very human jealousy. Kaolin Bass registers vividly in one of the show's smallest roles.

No comments: