THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Although a personal favourite piece of literature I have often found that various re-imaginings of, perhaps, Wilde’s greatest work have often felt lacking. Whether it be dance, theatre, film or even musical very few have come close to capturing the essence of what makes the tale so special. This interpretation by Box Tale Soup however manages to position itself alongside some of the more interesting interpretations of the cautionary tale of morality, vanity and excessive indulgence that Wilde levelled at the Victorian society of his time but which is equally-if not even more so- relevant today.
As in Wilde’s novel the young Dorian’s beauty is so extreme that everyone who meets him is instantly beguiled and charmed by him and his appeal is universal. By having the only female member of the three strong cast take on the central male role it creates a gender fluid androgyne, inverting the idea of his masculinity, which was always implicitly hinted at in Wilde’s novel. Likewise using specially crafted puppets as the peripheral characters who fall under his spell is an interesting and clever analogy as eventually everyone surrounding Dorian eventually became a mere puppet as he indulged his desires and protected his legacy at any cost.
The original score accompanying the drama was well placed and also added a certain intrigue which sets this production above so many other interpretations.
All in all I found this version of an overworked classic quite refreshing as it allowed a more modern take on the appeal of Dorian who although in Wilde’s work is most definitely male but uses wiles and means of seduction more commonly associated with female characters of the time to manipulate and ultimately attain whatever his heart desires.
****
The Picture of Dorian Gray is on at Underbelly Big Belly at 11.10am until August 27th.

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