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REVIEW: Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis: A New Musical

‘Hang the night with stars so that I may wait abroad in the darkness without stumbling’


On Thursday 1 May, Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis: A New Musical opened at London’s Leicester Square Theatre. The play chronicles Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis set to music and lyrics by Paul Dale Vickers. Alastair Brookshaw stars as Oscar Wilde, the narrative set within Wilde’s prison cell. The writer’s incarceration follows the court trial taken against him when Lord Alfred Douglas’ father accused him of ‘indecent’ behaviour with his son. The show lasts an hour, with Wilde recounting his life, love, loss and freedom while contemplating and understanding what it is to be locked up and alone emotionally and physically.

The show takes place within such an intimate setting with the the audience surrounding the stage. This allows Alastair’s powerful voice to engage and quickly elevate the emotional intensity of the performance. At times he struts around the stage excitedly, overall his performance is poignant and moving. It’s not hard to imagine that most of the audience understand and have experienced the feelings detailed so eloquently by Oscar Wilde of how a lover can be both at the same time a detriment and yet a saviour. That for many there is a fine line between joy and sadness, and love and hate.
The music is brilliantly written with melodic poetry and staccato interludes to truly reflect the varying emotions of Alistair’s performance. Furthermore the music was marvellously entwined with hypnotic lighting and well thought out stage design.

Definitely make the journey to ‘see one of English literature’s greatest wordsmiths works set to a stunning score that tells a story of love, loss and freedom.’

‘I have no doubt that in this letter in which I have to write of your life and of mine, of the past and of the future, of sweet things changed to bitterness and of bitter things that may be turned into joy, there be much that will wound your vanity to the quick’

4/5

Until 8 June, Leicester Square Theatre, London. Details and tickets here.

Words: Matt Peake
Photo: Steve Ullathorne

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