Dorian Gray assessment – Sarah Snook dazzles in daring one-woman Oscar Wilde reinvention | Theatre | Entertainment | EUROtoday

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London ticket costs, eh? At least for £395 you get to gawp at two Hollywood stars in Plaza Suite, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick on excessive type in a sub-par play simply down the highway (which is unfortunately not paved for many of us with treasured metals).

In this wildly radical, techtastic reboot of Oscar Wilde’s controversial 1891 novel, you ‘solely’ get an Aussie TV star for the top-tier ticket worth of £289… But after nearly two breathless, breathtaking hours of this staggering one-woman tour de power with no interval, I can affirm that Sarah Snook is value promoting your personal pricey outdated ma for (sorry, mum). Why is not she already a significant theatre star over right here?

Catapulted to international fame as Succession’s devastatingly damaging Shiv, she’s simply matched that with a fiercely fearless, full-throttle, totally uncovered show taking part in 26 characters that leaves her sweaty (and a bit snotty) by the tip. The remainder of us merely droop gobsmacked in our seats, questioning what the hell had we simply seen, and the way in all of the hells did she do it?

Is it a play? A multi-media marvel or a monstrosity? Wilde, himself, was no stranger to pushing boundaries and toying with the sides of our consolation zone. He additionally continually questioned how we see ourselves, current ourselves to others and are in flip perceived.

The dangers of fracturing the self are pitilessly uncovered in Dorian Gray, the useless youth who sells his soul so a portrait could bear the proof of his sins and ageing, leaving him eternally unblemished. Image and actuality indifferent – sound acquainted in our age of filters and insta faux-fabulousness?

Sydney Theatre Company’s inventive director Kip Williams as soon as once more directs his radical imaginative and prescient of Wilde’s Gothic melodrama along with his full array of technical trickery. Multiple screens decrease and lift, loom or sidle on. A digital camera group continually movies Snook on stage and off from a number of angles. She even movies herself on her cellphone, utilizing its apps to distort what we’re seeing whereas she is speaking.

Constant use of prerecorded footage additionally solves my nagging drawback with one-actor exhibits: How do you clearly outline a number of characters, and the way do you current conversations when you’ll be able to by no means present anybody reacting to a different’s speech?

Snook has big enjoyable onstage slipping into numerous costumes, wigs and sideburns however she additionally seems onscreen as different characters in terribly well-executed, fast-paced conversations together with her ‘actual’ self onstage. Sometimes her live-filmed stage self seems on the identical display screen as a number of prerecorded characters. She even sits on the finish of an extended desk after which a full ceremonial dinner (all performed by her) seem, life-sized, alongside the again of it. And all work together. My thoughts was blown.

Of course, like Andrew Scott’s divisive one-man Vanya (no technical trickery) or Nicole Scherzinger’s Sunset Boulevard (an excessive amount of fourth-wall breaking camera-work) the query is at all times do you threat sacrificing content material for idea?

Snook triumphs with magnificent characterisations. Dorian lurches from ludicrously coy coquette to sociopath and eventually abject terror and self-pity. The supporting gallery of grotesques runs the gamut from dotty servants and toffs to the pitiful besotted artist Basil and sneering, smug Sir Henry. Snook deliciously revels within the airheaded actress Sybil Vane and her brutish avenging brother James.

The virtuosity of all concerned from main girl to digital camera operators, to sound and imaginative and prescient mixers is staggering. The precision of timing dialogue and hitting bodily spots on stage hurts my mind.

My niggling concern is that Snook spends an excessive amount of day trip of sight – a very dragged out clubbing scene ‘under’ the stage, on the opposite aspect of a wall in Dorian’s nursery, behind big vases at a backyard celebration – or barely in sight far upstage, blocked by the screens displaying her upstage or the swirling digital camera crew. Sometimes we’re undecided if she is performing dwell however unseen or it is prerecorded.

What’s clear is that all of it roars vividly, searing to life at any time when she is there speaking to us or to her many different incarnations on the screens. That’s when this preposterous, delirious, disturbing fable feels bizarrely actual. I used to be going to ruthlessly deduct one star, however then the entire level is to make us study actuality. And my poor mind begin to spiral another time.

I cherished this present at the same time as I used to be annoyed by it. I used to be totally immersed at the same time as my thoughts sidetracked to surprise on the hows and whys. Best of all, and finally the one ‘actual’ standards for me, is that I’m totally thrilled I noticed it and its sensational main girl.