All too often, a night at the theatre comes, for me, with a frisson of disappointment, a sense of opportunities missed or simply lines delivered without conviction. Here's the huge current exception. Now playing till April 6 at the Duke of York's Theatre, London, the brilliant "The Judas Kiss" stars Rupert Everett and Freddie Fox as Oscar Wilde and Bosie.
The play, immaculately crafted by David Hare, focuses on two critical moments in Oscar Wilde’s final years, the hours immediately before his arrest and subsequent imprisonment for gross indecency and his final parting with Bosie in Naples, after his disastrous return "to the man who precipitated his downfall."
It's a role close to the heart of Everett who says of Wilde "He’s my patron saint, or my Christ figure." Already lauded for "the performance of his career," Everett's Wilde is by turns, affecting, bombastic, arrogant, witty and vulnerable. It's truly a tour de force for an actor clearly comfortable in both his own skin and that of a character whom he reveres.
Fox, 23, also excels as the lethal adonis, Alfred Lord Douglas. He has been making something of a speciality of roles that portray, in his words, ‘spoiled and entitled brats’. There was Edwin Drood, the arrogant young rich Dickens heir, which first brought him to mainstream attention. He also played the moody King Louis XIII in the recent Hollywood version of the Three Musketeers. A powerful stage presence, clothed or otherwise, he reminded us of a hunky version of David Bowie, from the eras of Hunky Dory and Low. Idiosincratic though that view might be, there is no denying that he does an excellent job with an extremely unsympathetic character, a petulant little queen with no redeeming features beyond an outstandingly cute arse.
The supporting and frequently naked cast includes Tom Colley as Galileo, one of Boasie's Naples pick-ups.
Lustralboy says: "At a time of high profile debate on gay issues, this production gets a topicality award as well as one for engaging entertainment. Do go, but don't take your grandma!
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