Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Starting with the character of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray this young company have pushed their exploration through a Berkovian make over. It takes us into the depths of a depravity from which a soul has no escape.
Dorian is faced with women who wish to tempt him. Through a selection of intense scenarios he maintains his air of superiority until he can handle it no more and succumbs to their seduction. It may be witnessing the corruption of his female companion, it may be the dystopian nightmare or the opium he has induced but nonetheless his descent to their norm is inevitable; he settles down to dance till the neighbours talk.
This has a very good narrative that is well paced and had a number of very good one liners. Despite being a young company the writing did show some decent insight into life and the value of it. Each performer gave it their all and it was effective. The communally choreographed work was good but in a year where the bar has been raised on this very issue at a number of performances that I have seen this was not up there with the best I have witnessed. It needs more verve and levels. Having said that it was well thought through, it just needed another gear. One of my favourite sequences was Dorian fighting the harpies off.
The staging was sparse with a white sheet that was to prove a blank canvas for the blood which was effective. There are just a couple of minor things that irritated me. If you are going to wear new shirts onstage – iron them first. Also if the shirts are white please wear similarly coloured undergarments.
Apart from the sheet onstage there was a stool and much writhing and moving from the company. I was also very impressed at the hint of the gentlemanly opium den when it could have become the junky iniquity of today; subtlety though straight forward and hard hitting thinking; avoiding the cliché gives an audience more to genuinely invest in.
As for being a piece of innovative theatre this was good. It is thought provoking and stretches the interpretation of the classic it uses as a spring board. The bringing into the piece of feminism does work though some of the images would suggest otherwise. Also at 40 minutes it avoids being self indulgent. Many theatre pieces that have a good idea find that they run out of the idea before they are finished mining it – here that is not the case.