- Oscar goes touring: As per the report below, the Wilde play is now going on tour after its sell-out run in London. It should prove popular in Oscar's hometown Dublin, at the Gaiety Theatre for a week in October, followed by a week each at Bath, Brighton, Cambridge, Richmond - pity its not heading north - a friend in Liverpool would have liked to have caught it....
Ben Hardy, that other young actor (now in EASTENDERS) is also naked at the start, as the young waiter, which certainly makes the audience sit up! Rupert, so amusing the other week in a re-run of MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING captures Wilde at these 2 key moments dealt with in the play. We first see him holed up at the Cadogan Hotel in 1895 before being arrested, as everyone tries to persuase him to flee to Europe, and the thoroughly unpleasant Bosie goes into drama queen mode. Act 2 is 2 years later in Italy in 1897 as the ruined - both his health and financially, after 2 years hard labour in jail - Wilde contemplates his downfall and realises how Bosie has betrayed him, as he will not give up his family allowance and prepares to leave Wilde once again. Oscar achieves pure pathos here. Below: Freddie as Bosie with Tom Colley as the Italian.
|Liam & Tom in 1998|
The story of his wife Constance too is utterly tragic (as shown in that excellent well-received recent biography on her); she died 2 years before Oscar - I remember reading in one of the Wilde books how he visited her grave (in Genoa) and pondered at the sadness and waste of it all. He was then that haunted impoverished (but hopefully happy) outcast in Paris in 1900 as the new century (which would surely have embraced him) began. Instead he, as the legend goes, turned to the wall of that Paris hotel room with the hideous wall-paper and said "one of us has to go". Of his two sons - he was a devoted father too - one of them died in the First World War. We will always though have the plays, the novel, the fairy tales, the aphorisms, the wit that so entranced his audiences and friends like Lily Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt and the rest. The story of Oscar: the talent, the rise and fall - as per the plethora of books about him and that era [the reckless "feasting with panthers", his indiscretions at London hotels and assignations with youths like Alfonso Conway in Worthing, which didn't go down well in court] will continue to fascinate - and what great actress doesn't want to have a go at Lady Bracknell or Miss Prism or Mrs Cheveley?