Sunday, 28 October 2012

In Which There Is Some Great Acting (and Nakedness)

Having spent the morning listening to Rupert Everett talking about his new book, I then spent the evening at Bath Theatre Royal watching him, and others, in David Hare's play "The Judas Kiss"

It was a superb production.It covers two events; the hours at the Cadogan Hotel, immediately before Wilde's arrest for gross indecency, and a similar period at Wilde and Bosie's  home in Naples, immediately prior to their final separation.

Rupert Everett as Wilde
(photo from Bath Theatre Royal website)
Everett is completely convincing as Wilde: witty, satirical and an ultimately tragic figure. Calm in the face of his own impending arrest and disgrace, and Robbie's increasingly desperate attempts to persaude him to flee to the Continent while there is still time, he is moved to tears by the kindness of the Hotel servants.

 Toward the end of the play,we see him refuse his wife's demand to separate from Bosie (knowing this refusal will result in her stopping his allowance, leaving him penniless) only to learn that Bosie is abandoning him at his own family's behest - Bosie, characteristically, tries to disclaim any responsibility for anything which has happened, even going so far as to claim he was 'never an invert' (homosexual) "No," responds Wilde, dryly "Just a very good mimic"
Freddie Fox as 'Bosie' (from Theatre Royal website)

Although Freddie Fox's Bosie is so petulant, hypocritical and spoilt that it is a little hard to see why Wilde would have remained so devoted to him, he is very consistent, and convincing, and is also very beautiful, which of course could explain a good deal! Cal MacAninch was excellent as Robbie Ross, whose good sense, and enduring friendship for Wilde did not seem to be well rewarded, and was at times heartbreaking.

Oh, and the nakedness?  the maid and valet at the Cadogan, in Act One (taking advantage of Bosie's room while cleaning) And Bosie and Galileo (a fisherman of Naples) (Tom Colley), who sleeps with Bosie and makes conversation in Italian with Wilde.

It's ultimately a tragic play, but there are so many entertaining one-liners that it is easy to overlook this, for large chunks of the play.

It's now transferring to the West End, to the Richmond Theatre. It's well worth seeing, if you can manage it.


spacedlaw said...

From all accounts, Bosie seems to have really been "petulant, hypocritical and spoilt". As to why Wilde put up with him.. Well I've always thought Les hommes ADORENT les emmerdeuses.

Marjorie said...


(although I believe he did, later, send Wilde money and pay for his funeral)