Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Abbey

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to head off to Dublin to see our friend Charlotte in The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Abbey.  I'd never been in the Abbey before so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about.  On first glance the Abbey is nothing special.  It's just another building on a Dublin street.  Inside the staff were friendly and the auditorium was comfortable.  But what is different about the Abbey is the feeling that you are part of something special. The importance of the Abbey in Dublin's cultural history is obvious as soon as you enter the door. There's a distinct sense of history that I feel mostly in ancient churches and at Holy wells.  Never before have I felt it in a theatre.

I really enjoyed the visual effects used in the production, from the amazing costumes, the stripped back set and the lighting.  But by far the highlight of this show is the acting ability of the whole cast. Tom Canton as Dorian was a revelation.  I could not believe my eyes when I read that this was his debut, not just on the Abbey stage but as a professional actor.  I followed his Dorian in his gradual descent into madness.  This was a strong performance from a man who will become, I think, a great actor.

Even I felt corrupted by Jasper Britton's performance as the gleefully decadent and immoral Lord Henry, and I thought Frank McCusker's Basil was a work of understated genius. Charlotte McCurry's Sybil was played to fragile perfection - her place always in the background, her sobbing heard but ignored, her love cruelly dismissed.  I mostly enjoyed the chorus which served to highlight Dorian's fall from morality, and echoed his inner most thoughts, but I felt that their interruptions slightly distracted from the action at times.

All in all, a mostly strong production in a stunning venue.  I'll certainly be back.


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