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In Extremis - King's Head Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN EXTREMIS, by Neil Bartlett, will play a four-week season at the King’s Head Theatre from Sunday, November 18 to Sunday, December 9, 2012 (Sundays and Mondays only).

On the night of the March 24, 1895, Mrs Robinson, a society palm reader, agrees to see the celebrated playwright and author Oscar Wilde in her London flat. He is at the very height of his popular fame with his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, still on stage in the West End. But it is just a week before the opening of what would become billed as the ‘trial of the century’…

In Extremis attempts to reveal and understand the strange turmoil of that night, as one of the most celebrated men of his age enlists the help of a complete stranger for advice about a potentially life-changing decision. Faced with the choice of fight or flight, is Oscar’s decision based on the advice he receives that night?

Caroline Devlin directs a cast that includes Kate Copeland, Nigel Fairs, Fiz Marcus and Charlie Buckland.

Commissioned in 2000 by the National Theatre to mark the centenary of Oscar Wilde’s death, In Extremis has not been seen in London since.

Neil Bartlett is a director, author, deviser, translator, adaptor and performer. Over the last 25 years his work has included controversial solo and large-scale performance pieces as well as major productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Opera North, the National and the Royal Court.

His first book, published in 1988, was a pioneering reassessment of Oscar Wilde. Since then he has also written three acclaimed novels, the most recent of which, Skin Lane, was longlisted for the Costa Award.

Presented by Kean Productions, In Extremis is designed by Petra Hjortsberg and has sound by Matt Eaton.

Tickets: £15 – £12 (concessions) – available from the box office on 020 7478 0160 or online at

Times: 7.15pm, plus 3pm matinee on Sunday, December 9.

Tosca continues at the King’s Head Theatre until November 10, 2012. Also at the King’s Head: Cross Purpose and The Upstairs Room.