Unsurprisingly, I am a huge fan of the Gothic. Whether in fashion or literature, the gothic has always been of interest to me. Earlier this year I wrote about the Gothic exhibition at the British Library, which you can read here. As I was heading back to London for a bit, my Mum let me know that an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was at Harrow Arts Centre on the Friday I was home. I used to actually volunteer as a steward at Harrow Arts Centre, and I find the building so beautiful, so nostalgia combined with my love for the novel led me to Elliot Hall to watch this play.
Adapted for stage by Wilde's own grandson, Merlin Howard - which is a fantastic name by the way! - and Harrow born John O'Connor, the play was really gripping. with only four actors and a fairly sparse set, emphasis was on lighting, imaginative use of props and set and dramatic tension. The acting was flawless, despite only having three actors playing several roles; the actor who played Dorian himself, Guy Warren-Thomas, was consistent. The actor who mostly played Lord Henry, Gywnfor Jones, has previously been in The Woman In Black which I could see parallels between, with the small number of actors and set. They are, of course, both gothic classics and despite loving both the book and film versions of each, I actually much prefer the theatrical adaptations I have seen as they are far more engaging.
My only criticism would be that I feel if you were unaware of the storyline, that is to say you had not read the book or even just seen the film, you may have got lost. As I am very familiar with the plot I could follow along well and really appreciated the way it was performed and interpreted, however I could see how certain parts could seem confusing for those who had come into the theatre ignorant.
Overall though, I think it was a brilliant adaptation of one of my most loved books. The Picture of Dorian Gray by the European Arts Company has actually finished touring the UK at the moment, however I do believe it is running for a small number of shows in New York, more of which you can find out about here.