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Theatre-goers less than Wilde about Oscar



Story by Jack Foley

HOT-on-the-heels of the rapid demise of West End show, Murderous Instincts, comes Oscar Wilde, a fringe production which suffered the dubious distinction of closing after only one night earlier this week.

The musical, written by former DJ Mike Read to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the poet, suffered so many bad reviews following its press night that only five out of the 466 tickets were sold for the first public performance at newly-refurbished Shaw Theatre, in north London.

As a result, the owners made the difficult decision to close it.

The demise of the show follows a number of high-profile, theatrical failures, and will no doubt have Wilde turning in his grave.

He once famously proclaimed that 'there is only one thing worse in the world than being talked about and that is NOT being talked about'.

Yet, the poet very rarely, if ever, suffered a bad review and would have been most upset about Read's version, which dealt with the last six years of his life.

The popular Irish playwright died in a Paris hotel, in 1900, at the age of 46, impoverished and disgraced after a scandal surrounding his homosexuality.

Critics described it as 'excruciating' and 'over two hours of leaden dross' - even though IndieLondon's David Munro found some of the performances - from Peter Blake (Wilde) and Anita Louise Combe (as Constance) - worthy of merit.

He concluded that the musical was 'the curate's egg – good in parts, although I did not find the sum of the parts added up to a satisfactory whole'.

And while Read is no doubt licking his wounds, he still announced his intention to complete his next musical, YMCA - which is designed as a tribute to gay icons, The Village People.

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