Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Judas Kiss

The Judas Kiss
Duke of York's Theatre, London
The Judas Kiss focuses on two pivotal moments in the life of Oscar Wilde.

The first half of the play shows him still dashing and elegant but doubtless worried by recent events, which have seen details of his private life with Bosie revealed and acting as a catalyst for the oncoming storm.

Wilde’s wit sparkles, as one would expect, as his inner circle retains respect an loyalty (on the surface, at least). There are elements of farce and throughout it all Oscar crackles with energy.

The second half shows him post-prison, penniless, desperate and destitute. He is still firing off his witticisms but he is ruined man in more ways than one. Deserted by virtually everyone, he still has Bosie with him but the latter prefers to keep the company of younger men. It is only a matter of time before Oscar is left completely and utterly alone.

Oscar’s energy has been depleted along with his money. He is adamant that he is going to spend the whole day sitting in the same chair, existing on little else than cigarettes and glimpses of nudity from Bosie and his young lover as they strut across the room. 

Indeed, anyone likely offended by male nudity should really give this play a miss. There may well be female nudity too. The opening scene of the first half starts with two people in bed. Once out of the covers, little is left to the imagination. Unfortunately, with almost perfect comedy timing, some people with seats on the row in front of mine arrived slightly late and this resulted in the people directly in front of me having to stand to let them through. By the time they sat down again, the maid who had been in bed had managed to run into the bathroom and emerged a minute later, having made herself ‘decent.’ Some people behind me had tried bellowing ‘sit down!’ to the offenders but alas it was too late.

Fans of Oscar Wilde should enjoy this play enormously. The cast is uniformly terrific, with Rupert Everett dominating the stage as Oscar himself.

The Judas Kiss is only on for another month. Head for the official website for further details.

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