Review: Matthew Bourne’s Dorian Gray @ Birmingham Hippodrome

Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray

Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray

To describe this production as a masterpiece would be a dramatic understatement. Nothing like it has been seen on the British stage since Matthew Bourne’s Car Man two years ago, and here each devastating coup de theatre seeks to both top that and his nineties bombshell Swan Lake. It succeeds in spades.

Wilde’s 1891 decadent novel The Picture of Dorian Gray ruined his glittering career as its aphoristic foreword was read out in court by Carson, his prosecuting counsel. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book,” it claimed. The court however disagreed, and Wilde went down.

Well times have really changed and the packed Hippodrome audience of young people on opening night showed that Dorian is a contemporary art event which theatre historians will be writing about for decades.

This majestic work reaches a choreographic pinnacle with its glittering marriage of art, music, dance and fashion in the service of a contemporary fable of talentless fame, chillingly depicting its sheer emptiness in as moral a tale as ever graced the puritan code. So fashion photography replaces the legendary portrait and when Dorian becomes the face of Immortal, the new must-have fragrance Wilde is revealed as the true prophet of the X Factor age.

I won’t reveal the totally unexpected and devastating first act curtain, but I will just say that the second act is completely, utterly stunning.

This is quite simply the best thing I have seen so far this year. The performance runs until Saturday, matinees included. If you love theatre that’s new, fresh, vibrant, thought-provoking, heart-breakingly beautiful and totally relevant to the present you just can’t afford to miss this show.

For tickets phone the Hippodrome Box office on 0844 338 5000 or book online at www.birmighamhippodrome.com.

The show runs until November 14.

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2 Comments

  1. Charlie Styles

    11th November, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I was one of the ‘young people’ at this opening night show (being 13 years old) however i found it to be truly mesmerising. the strength and masculinity shown throughout the show, whilst being balanced with homoeroticism was truly stunning. the score was electrifying and gave me goosebumps at least five times throughout the show. The cast shone through with an amazing stage presence and their contemporary movement. the scene with gray and his doppelganger had to be one of the best dance routines i’ve ever seen in my life… i tip my hat to matthew bourne who i had the opportunity to talk to at the Q & A after the show. he was a very grounded man and very humourous.. it was a pleasure meeting him and i hope he does a lot more amazing productions in the future like this one. to end this i have to say ; DORIAN GRAY IS PICTURE PERFECT

  2. Rob

    13th November, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Although the dancing was very good and the music was great too, I was thoroughly bored and didnt enjoy it at all