Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

 

 

 

A review by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

The Alchemic Order presents

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray: A Restoration

 

 

 

 

 

by Oscar Wilde

Adapted by The Alchemic Order

Directed by Samuel Orange

Music Score by Gaspar Hunt

Interactive Scientific Innovations by Dr Kate Stone

Set Design by Feix&Merlin

 

Secret location revealed on booking

 

Until 1 November, 2014

 

There’s taking your work home and then there’s what Samuel Orange has done with The Alchemic Order’s first production. Set throughout his own townhouse in Greenwich, this spirited adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s only novel – The Picture of Dorian Gray takes place across rooms, whole floors and the garden. All are thoroughly injected with decadence, clad with lush materials and bedecked with grand furnishings. At one point Dorian reclines under black silk sheets under the gaze of the audience in his gothic bedroom, at others, cast and audience sit together in a mirrored gentlemen’s club style living room or stumble around in the shadowy basement opium den.

Upon arrival guests knock a standard townhouse door just a few minutes’ walk from Greenwich train station. The undisputable stars of the show (Gray’s servants) meet visitors on arrival in full character and they so wholly compliment each other’s every word and action that they might be siblings or lovers. Mrs Leaf (Louise Larchbourne) opened the door on my arrival and before I knew it my friend and I had been ushered into a disorientating room full of mirrors and equipped with silver goblets of wine. Victor (Mark Laughtone) busied himself with some of the other guests and all the while, the two talked to, at or about one another. It is to these characters that the audience continually look to for direction, guidance and as consistent sources of entertainment.

As immersive theatre goes this production is not terribly interactive, though having said that, Mrs Leaf kindly found time to give me a tarot reading at the interval which more than made up for this. Instead, the audiences’ position as unseen voyeurs is played upon and in one surprising scene, a glass floor provides a vantage point, whilst in others the audience get glimpses of action through the windows from outside. Perhaps a little emboldened by the giant goblet of wine presented to me on arrival, I wasn’t shy about moving about the house and peeping and creeping seems to be the best possible way to utilise this unique opportunity and be an intrepid voyeur in this wonderfully set adaptation of a Gothic masterpiece.

Scandalously beautiful, Tommy Fitzer is perfectly cast as Dorian, pouty and brooding, youthful and sensitive, one can sense his vanity and naivety as he wanders about posing for his portrait, painted painstakingly and devotedly by Basil Hallward (Johannes Lundberg). This scene paves way for the next in which Gray meets his new mentor, Lord Henry Wotton (Samuel Orange). Steeped in insatiable desire for lavish licentiousness, Wotton is the ideal person to lead Gray into believing that the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. Elaborate costumes on these two, and indeed, those of the whole company are a real visual treat. Ciara Style’s Sybil Vain also puts in a stand-out performance as Gray’s hopelessly devoted love interest. Jamie Walker exhibits a mysterious, ethereal presence as Gray’s image and scenes between he and Fitzer are particularly engaging.

On the evening I attended the weather was fine but I couldn’t help imagining what a pain even just a shower of rain would be.  Perhaps the production is better suited to a warmer summer evenings. That said, the company are putting on two Halloween specials of the play and, given that I was lucky enough to attend on Wilde’s 160th Birthday, I can say for sure that these Halloween events (planned for the 31st and 1st) will be memorable affairs.

 

 

 

 

Booking: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/766139
 
Special Events: Halloween Specials 31st October & 1st November
Location: Dorian Gray’s Townhouse (Address revealed upon booking)
http://www.thealchemicorder.com/
Weds/Thurs £37.50 and Fri/Sat £47.50
 
 

Copyright © EXTRA! EXTRA All rights reserved