The Trial of Dorian Gray is the continuation of the famous novel by Oscar Wilde. Released in book form in 1891, the story was seen as controversial and notorious for the time – with the author being criticised for his hedonistic take on the philosophy throughout the novel. There have been many adaptions throughout the years since the publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray – also many adaptations that have featured the protagonist of the novel, Dorian Gray, in other stories as well. The Trial of Dorian Gray, written by Gabriel Bergmoser, is one of those adaptations. In a world where the character survived the events of the novel, we see Dorian Gray in the modern day times of 2019.
Performed at the The Courthouse Hotel in North Melbourne, the stage itself is small, allowing the audience to experience the production at a very close distance – which does help to dramatise the events, allowing us to view the full strength of the actors. The props themselves are minimal, which works well. The focus throughout the evening remains firmly on the two actors upon the stage – any more to the set would possibly distract from this.
The titular character of Dorian Gray is played by James Biasetto. In modern day times, Gray has continued his life of debauchery – placing himself in a profession where he can create and surround himself with beauty. Biasetto plays the part well, equal parts charming and repulsive to the audience, he has a charisma upon the stage that you can’t help to admire – despite his actions and words as Gray coming off as selfish and arrogant.
Opposite is Ratidzo Mambo as Michaela – a young woman who has spent the evening with Gray on a date, however things escalate at a dramatic pace. Mambo, while not quite as charismatic as Biasetto, manages to hold her own as Michaela, not an easy task when up against a character as historic as Dorian Gray.
The play itself is a fascinating continuation of the original story – throughout the writing changes the direction of the play dramatically, leading the viewer into a story they may not have realised was happening. While the ending does leave a little to be desired (slightly cliche), the the dive into the philosophical discussion of immortality beforehand is brilliant. The writing delves deep into the character of Dorian Gray, exploring his motivations and mindset for the crimes he has committed throughout the years, culminating in whether or not he deserves punishment for said crimes.
The Trial of Dorian Gary is a fascinating production at this years’ Midsumma, definitely a must see for any fans of the historic novels and character.
The Trial of Dorian Gary is showing at The Courthouse Hotel from 30th January to 2nd February as part of this years Midsumma Festival. Tickets can be purchased here via Eventfinda.