There is quite a buzz about the current play at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, The Judas Kiss. As a production is is quite breathtaking, and I could not imagine this eloquent beautiful play being realised more effectively on Broadway or in London. We went with friends who commented that it was a shame this this splendid theatre was able to be enjoyed by so few people at a time. I believe that it is the very intimacy of the production that makes it so powerful.
The play is about the court case which caused Oscar Wilde to be imprisoned for gross indecency, and the aftermath.
I can see that some reviewers do not care for the play, but I love it. The first act is perfectly paced to enable the audience to savour the impending doom that the major protagonist Oscar Wilde, will face. There are no words to describe just how beautiful this scene is and it draws out wonderful performances from the cast. The second act is equally compelling, set during Oscar’s years post prison in Europe.
This play is based on fact and there was alot of biographical material incorporated into the text. Some of the characters were not deep or complex and certainly in the case of Oscar Wilde’s lover Bosie, not even particularly pleasant. The casting of Hayden Maher in this role is perfect- he is a radiantly beautiful young man and one can certainly imagine some character flaws ( such as narcissism) would have gone unnoticed!! Josh Quong Tart is remarkable as Oscar Wilde. Simon London is completely convincing as the rejected lover Robbie. The other cast members-Robert Alexander, Hannah Raven David Soncin and Luke Fewster are all wonderful in their roles.
I was thrilled with Iain Sinclair’s direction. Every interaction was believable and tantalising.
I cannot fail to mention the set design and construction by well known designer John Hindmarsh and Colin Emmerton. I often lament the use of expensive sets which do not actually help tell the story. This design actually advances the themes of the play more powerfully than any play I have seen in the last few years. The costumes lighting and sound are also perfect.
I am aware that there are very few seats left, and it would indeed be a tragedy if there were one spare seat for this spectacular piece of theatre. Do not miss it.