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Dorian Gray - Riverside Studios

Dorian Gray

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS Spring, two theatrical families team up as Daisy Bevan, the latest Redgrave to take to the stage, joins forces with Jack Fox to star in Dorian Gray at Riverside Studios.

Both will be making their theatrical debuts in Ruby In The Dust’s acclaimed stage adaptation of the Oscar Wilde 1890 classic, which runs at the Hammersmith venue from April 16 to May 10, 2014.

When it was first published, The Picture of Dorian Gray caused an outcry. Reviewers widely condemned Wilde’s Faustian tale of aestheticism and duplicity, of hedonism and indulgence as “vulgar” and “unclean”, “poisonous” and “discreditable”, prompting W H Smith to pull copies of the magazine in which it was published from their bookshelves.

Such was the public and critical reaction that Wilde subsequently attempted to moderate some of the more homoerotic references in the book and to simplify the book’s moral message.

However, despite upsetting Victorian sensibilities, the novel, which tells the story of a handsome young man who somehow preserves his youthful beauty whilst his hidden portrait gradually reveals his inner ugliness, became a classic and has since inspired subsequent generations of musicians, filmmakers, artists and playwrights.

Adapted by Linnie Reedman and with music and lyrics by Joe Evans, Dorian Gray recreates the dark, murky underbelly of late Nineteenth Century London – the tawdry theatres, burlesque bars, cabaret clubs and opium dens into which the eponymous anti-hero descends, far far away from the opera houses, the salons and the gentlemen’s clubs that he likes to be seen in.

Ruby In The Dust’s critically praised adaptation began life as a one night gala presentation in London’s Café Royal. Just before it closed its doors for its major refurbishment, the venue was transformed to its heyday glory by taking the story back to its birthplace: staging the show, on Oscar Wilde’s birthday, in the beautiful Domino Room – which was where Wilde would hold initial readings of his works, and dine with his lovers before his world was turned upside down by his trial and subsequent imprisonment for acts of gross indecency.

Youngest son of James Fox and nephew to Edward Fox, Jack Fox has previously appeared on television in Mr Selfridge, Fresh Meat, Lewis, Privates and Dracula.

Daisy Bevan, granddaughter of Vanessa Redgrave and daughter of Joely Richardson, has just finished filming The Two Faces of January with Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac, which is due out in the spring.

Formed in 2006 by Young Vic genesis director Linnie Reedman and acclaimed composer/musical director Joe Evans, Ruby In The Dust has twelve productions under its belt, including shows both on the fringe and in the West End as well as other site specific venues. Past credits include the critically praised The Great Gatsby Musical and Hutch (Riverside Studios), Miracle starring Susannah York and Tim Woodward (St Andrew Church Crypt and Leicester Square Theatre) and Bonnie and Clyde (King’s Head Theatre).

Tickets: £18.50, £16 concessions, previews (April 16 and 17) £15. To book, call the box office on 0208 237 1111 or visit www.riversidestudios.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30pm; Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

Also at Riverside Studios: Merry Opera Company’s Kiss me, Figaro!.