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Dorian Gray premieres on Bromley stage

PUBLISHED: 17:43 25 February 2019

Dorian Gray comes to the Churchill Theatre. Photo: Matt Austin

Dorian Gray comes to the Churchill Theatre. Photo: Matt Austin

Matt Austin

Bromley has been chosen to open a new production of Oscar Wilde’s classic The Picture of Dorian Gray.

It launches in March at the Churchill Theatre.

Presented by Tilted Wig Productions in conjunction with the Churchill Theatre and Malvern Theatres, it stars Jonathan Wrather as Lord Henry Wotton.

He has appeared as the controversial Pierce Harris in ITV’s Emmerdale for two years.

Jonathan also appeared as Joe Carter in Coronation Street, and has been in Silent Witness and Casualty.

The book tells the story of a cultured, wealthy, and beautiful young man’s downfall through moral corruption and seduction.

Dorian, who, fearing that his good looks will fade as he grows old, wishes that a portrait painted of him could bear the burden of the ageing process, leaving him forever young.

As the portrait by Basil Hallward is unveiled, Dorian makes a flippant remark that it is so stunning that he would give anything to remain looking like his portrait. And that anything includes pledging his soul.

After falling in love with Sibyl Vane the nightmare heartache begins, with a passion for having children, death, suicide, betrayal, and of course plenty of sin, And each time a sin is committed, the portrait suffers, while Dorian, played by Gavin Fowler, carries on.

The cost of being forever youthful proves to be too high.

Featuring Wilde’s famous wit, the play will be performed as a fast-paced thriller that will keep audiences guessing until the final scenes.

Jonathan said: “It is a fascinating story that explores the nature of passion, temptation, free thought, repression, excess and narcissism in society.

“Sean’s adaptation has a contemporary or timeless feel to it. Certainly its themes have a modern relevance. It’s not a cautionary tale as such but a kind of tragic horror story.

“For those that don’t know the novel you could say that Dorian’s meeting Lord Henry has tragic and horrific consequences for both Dorian and Basil.

“When I read this adaptation it was dark and dangerous and dealt with epic themes but in a kind of claustrophobic situation.”

Katherine Senior, who founded Tilted Wig Productions, said: “The Picture of Dorian Gray will be the 21st show that my co-founder Matthew Parish and I have taken out on the road.

“We produced 19 shows for Creative Cow over its 10 years’ existence and now, under the banner of Tilted Wig Productions, The Picture of Dorian Gray will be our second production, following on from the success of Great Expectations last year. We hope audiences will enjoy our classic re-telling of this famous novel as it still has such resonance with our modern day lives and with its utter timelessness should feel bang up to date.”

And she added: “We have a great tour lined up with some fantastic venues.

“Another first is to be producing this show with Churchill Theatre in Bromley, alongside Malvern Theatres, with whom we produced Great Expectations last year. We are thrilled to be working with these two theatres and welcoming our guest star Jonathan Wrather, to bring this timeless thriller to the regions.”

Gavin Fowler was recently Troilus in Troilus and Cressida for the RSC.

Further casting includes Daniel Goode as Basil Hallward, Kate Dobson as Sybil Vane, Adele James in the roles of Catherine Vane and Ellen

Campbell and Phoebe Pryce as Lady Victoria Wotton. Samuel Townsend completes the cast as Boy/Romeo.

Katherine said: “We are so excited to be getting rehearsals under way.

“It is an incredible production with plenty of twists and turns.”

It is adapted and directed by Séan Aydon, designed by Sarah Beaton with lighting by Matt Haskins and sound by Jon Mcleod.

Dorian Gray is on March 7 – 9 at Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Go to tickets@churchilltheatre.co.uk

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