Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Review: The Judas Kiss, starring Mr Rupert Everett

Firstly, congratulations to Mr Rupert for his Laurence Olivier nomination, claps all round. You can find a list of all of the other actors you were nominated as well here. Secondly, bit of menial, but quite cool trivia, my mother informed me that I was sat next to Dr Christian Jessen who appears in 'Embarrassing Bodies', plays really are the place to prove that famous people do exist! If you know me well you will know that I like to pretend that famous people are fake, so that I can pretend that their beauty and talent is unreachable. Alas, it is not so. I wanted to get that out of the way before I got into a review, and not ruin it at the end... So, let us begin with a teenager's review of 'The Judas Kiss'.

Let's just give you a bit of context. It quite simply depicts what came to be known as the 'scandal of Oscar Wilde' for gross indecency, otherwise known as Wilde's homosexuality. The Judas the name refers to is in fact 'Bosie' Oscar's young lover, who effectively brought upon Oscar's trial. The Marquess of Queensbury was the man who led to Wilde's arrest, and was also Bosie's father. Being an English student who is studying 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', I've had this drummed into me so very many times... 

Rupert Everett's performance... I could call it divine. But no, it's almost like a revelation. It's sublimely executed. The Wilde on that stage, isn't the almost superfluously witty and sarcastic character of stereotypes. He isn't just  a stereotypical gay. Sure, he's witty, but he's also tragic. Everett's depiction of Wilde has soul. Oh my, if you know me, you know I like that. His Wilde has depth and truth. It's strange to think I know Everett mostly from St Trinians and as a voice from Shrek. The Rupert Everett I knew was beautiful in face, but here with ravages of age bestowed upon Wilde, he cannot appeal to that sort of beauty. He had the beauty of soul. This echoing internal suffering which seeped through the crevices of his skin. It was startling.

It's actually strange to think that I was thoroughly disappointed with the first half. But, I was. There was something about the stage that night where there seemed to be a lack of connection between the actors. The tension I needed just fell flat. In fact, it didn't even fall, it just seemed to never be there. That was all the fault I could pick out though. That, and well Bosie. Perhaps Freddie Fox was wonderful, and I am just a fool, but his Bosie seemed to have no redeeming characteristics at all. This could be a case of mis-direction, but I just felt that whilst Fox was good, I mean he really was, it felt like a super-outstanding high school performance. Like a 3.7/5 on a West End stage. I just wanted more than an infuriatingly loud and whimsically angry character. Though, in truth, I suppose that made him the perfect Judas type character. He was still more eye-catching than the rest of the cast, who were superb, I just get frustrated when leads aren't perfect. I know, high standards. Although, I really did love Robie. Cal MacAninch was just lovely. Oh, he is just the perfect antidote to this prepubescently selfish Bosie.  Literally, I'm still in such a little teenage crush mode that all I can call him is lovely. Does it make it any better that my parents agree? No, probably not.

Speaking of parents, I did have that lovely pleasure of watching something which is awkward with them. The whole full frontal nudity aspects of the show. My mum asked what I thought about it afterwards and all... The thing is, whilst some people might say it wasn't necessary, I think it was just such a clever element to the show. It begins with a love scene, pretty visually, but it's just a really graphic way of breaking the pretence that everyone was all long skirts, high collars and chastity belts in the Victorian period. There's another part where you have Oscar Wilde in the middle of the stage, Bosie to the right, and the character of Galileo to the left, fully naked for pretty much the whole time. During most of it Wilde and Bosie talk, and I just think the spacing is genius. You have every opportunity to look at the conversation of hand, so that if your eyes do slip to naked Galileo to the side, you almost only have yourself to blame. It goes perfectly in hand with Wilde's 'it is the spectator, not life, which art really mirrors'. 

In the end, it really was a superb play, mainly because the end was so good. For quite some time it is just Everett, the stage and his acting, and what an ending it was. 

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