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Not my most favourite of plays, but then Oscar Wilde can be rather strange, however, this version was technically brilliant, and performances were mostly good too.  The whole production was strange but compelling – I couldn’t say I enjoyed it as such, but I appreciated the beauty and often evil intent.  

Dorian Gray appeared only to be interested in maintaining his youth and beauty after having his portrait painted, and the ramifications of this and his sinful life formed the basis of an interesting play.

The set was on a revolve, which meant that everything was completely seamless, it was very well-managed and whilst it was fairly simple with just steps and platforms, it moved through the various scenes with seeming ease, and the cast used it effortlessly.

The portrait frame was a centrepiece, which had a life of it’s own, making sense at the end.  I found the finale to be riveting, which I liked.

Lighting was used to enhance the various plot lines and with excellent music choices this was a superlative production technically.

Costumes were mostly good – the men of the cast were all smartly turned out, with every detail correct, such a change to see.  The ladies looked both charming and colourful and again in keeping with the era.

Ollie Hope (Dorian Gray) was on point, charismatic but with the need to remain young and beautiful forever, after being convinced by the rather conniving character Sir Henry Wotton that youth and beauty was the only need.  Peter Carter-Brown played this character with understanding, it suited his delivery and eccentricity well.

Ollie created the rather debauched character of Dorian by showing his naivety, but also his downward spiral into drug taking and murder to try to maintain his youth.

Graham Thomas (Francis, Dorian’s valet), linked the whole proceedings by being ever present on stage, and taking the form of a rather malevolent being from another world, but it somehow suited the underlying mood of the piece.    I liked the way he moved around the set, which was presumably choreographed by Lynette Driver.

Penny Watson-Scales (Mrs Leaf) also on stage most of the time, assisted with the generalities of the plot, and both characters passed props back and forth in a stylised manner, again suiting the feel of the play.

Graham Read (Basil Hallward), met a sticky end at Dorian’s hand, but gave us uncertainty and concentration on the painting, whilst being rather naive in his general persona.

There were many other parts covered by the remaining cast of Mia-Lily Drew, Chris Nicholls, Asa Smith, Rona Cracknell, Jenny Monaghan, Sarah Wilkinson, Veronica Yates and Jo Herd, all adding different characterisations to make this a three dimensional production.  I felt everyone pulled their weight, but some characters came over better than others, I particularly liked the Butler and Mr Campbell.

The hours, weeks, years ending to Act 1 was gripping, and made me anxious to see Act 2.

I finished the evening knowing that I’d seen a fine production, and enjoyed both the technical and acting sides very much.

Dunstable Rep


review date: 15th May 2019

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Alistair Brown Choreographer: Lynette Driver


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