wed 28/02/2024

Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre

Geoffrey Rush has done it, Gyles Brandreth has done it, Stephen Fry came close to doing it, and now David Suchet is giving it a go – donning drag and a perpetually disgusted expression to play everyone’s favourite drawing-room gorgon, Lady Bracknell...

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Prom 58: Salome, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Runnicles

So here’s where I join the ranks of Old Opera Bores by declaring this Salome, Nina Stemme, the best I’ve seen since Hildegard Behrens in 1978, and this Salome as in Richard Strauss’s Wilde opera from Donald Runnicles and his Deutsche Oper Berlin...

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Lady Windermere's Fan, King's Head Theatre

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” declares Lord Darlington in Act II of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. He’s the classic Wildean cad - unprincipled, facetiously witty and in this production, possessed of the...

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The Importance of Being Earnest, Harold Pinter Theatre

“Some might say we’re getting too old for this sort of thing,” declares Martin Jarvis’s Jack Worthing, going off Wlldean piste. Well, we did wonder whether the reunion of Jarvis with Nigel Havers’s Algernon after 32 years might not be some sort of...

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Dorian Gray, Riverside Studios

Adapted by Linnie Reedman and with music by Joe Evans, Oscar Wilde’s only novel – the more scandalous original version serialised in 1890, which Wilde himself later expurgated – finds a new lease of life narrated by one of its minor characters:...

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The Importance of Being Earnest, Linbury Studio Theatre

If you were new to contemporary opera, you might think it was forbidden for modern works to be funny. Tragedy is still the default setting for major commissions. You only get serious money if you have serious thoughts and serious music, it seems. At...

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The Judas Kiss, Duke of York's Theatre

David Hare's 1998 play wasn't terribly well received when it was first produced by the Almeida; several critics regarded it as a thin work, weakly directed by Richard Eyre, and opined that Liam Neeson was miscast in the role of Oscar Wilde. Now...

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Lady Windermere’s Fan, Royal Exchange, Manchester

It’s ironic that Oscar Wilde should escape to the Lake District in 1891 to write a play satirising London society, his first success in the theatre. He took such a shine to the region’s place names that he used them for some of the characters –...

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The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900, V&A

'Boca Baciata': One of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's flame-haired beauties

A cult suggests unhealthy worship, and there’s more than a whiff of that in the heady decadence of the V&A’s latest art and design blockbuster, The Cult of Beauty. This is an exhibition which examines how the influence of a small clique of...

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An Ideal Husband, Vaudeville Theatre

Directing an Oscar Wilde play is rather like being a chaperone at a party: at best you are invisible, at worst actively intrusive. Marshalling Wilde’s politicos, dandies and duchesses through this latest ball of An Ideal Husband, Lindsay Posner is...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Simon Callow

Simon Callow is on the phone when I arrive at his five-star digs, booming his apparently considerable misgivings vis-a-vis appearing in some reality TV exercise in which he will be asked to tutor disadvantaged kids in the mysterious arts of...

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Salome, Hampstead Theatre

Princess as chavette: Zawe Ashton in the title role of Salome

The last time I saw Oscar Wilde’s biblical tale it was performed by dancer Lindsay Kemp at the Roundhouse in London, back in the 1970s, in a production that was high on dope, incense, strange vocal drawling - and which transported you very quickly...

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