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.