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BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

Saturday 28th November 2020, 7:30pm, Roslyn Packer Theatre

Oscar Wilde's Victorian Gothic tale of libertine hedonism is presented for the 21st century audience in Kip Williams' (Adaptor and Director) one woman show featuring Eryn Jean Norvill. Blending modern technology with old world aesthetics, the dark and twisted tale is presented with a balance of humor and horror to reinforce the relevance of the 19th century story in the contemporary world.

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYMost audiences will be at least acquainted with the general premise of THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY in that a vain young man has locked away a portrait of himself in an attic and while the man retains his youth, the painting changes over time but they may not be as cognizant of the darker side of the story. The handsome young Dorian Gray, who is painter Basil Hallward's muse, meets Basil's friend, the outspoken Lord Henry Wotton who convinces the young man to follow a life of hedonism where beauty is valued above any sort of morality and responsibility and Gray makes a wish that he will remain as he is and that the painting instead will suffer the effects of time. What Gray doesn't realize until his first heartless action is that the painting does not simply age but rather shows the effects of committing cruel, evil and sinful actions on his captured soul but he feels that it is of no consequence if he can ensure that the image is never seen.

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYWhile Sydney Theatre Company audiences will be familiar with Kip Williams' directorial signature of pairing Brechtian simplicity for his staging with live video feed (David Bergman - Video Designer), the design for THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is the most striking and successful combination to date. Up to five cameras are focused on Eryn Jean Norvill as she weaves through the 26 characters in the story, including a narrator who pulls the story together. Up to five screens of various sizes are used to express views of the action while Norvill, the camera crews and hair, makeup and props crews can be seen on stage. At times Norvill presents multiple characters at once with the wave of a cigarette or a paintbrush and a different camera angle. At other times, the present Norvill interacts with prerecorded characters which leads to surreal expressions as the live performance is delivered to air but the image has an occupied space on the large screen. The precision of the presentation of life size images to interact with the live performance are particularly captivating.

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYThe use of a single performer to present all the characters also plays to Wilde's statement that he considered that Basil, Lord Henry and Dorian were all reflections of himself. The use of video and particularly mobile phone cameras and the associated picture distortion and editing applications reinforces the link between the Victorian tale and the modern narcissistic trend of selfies and 'influencers' and the airbrushed fake image that people present to the world. The images and manipulations for the sequences with smart phones are presented in real time, not pre-prepared or controlled by remote technicians as evidenced by Norvill's response to the usability of the software while maintaining the monologue of the two-hour performance.

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYThere is a delightful humor about the work, often drawn from the directorial choices and the combination of on stage/screen transitions and interactions along with Norvill's physicality, including some fabulous costume changes during which Norvill maintains the narration plus the occasional ad-lib comment to her team of dressers. Williams has ensured that scenes do not become stale with return visits to a setting being presented from new angles and interpretations. The shift in mood from the joys of Dorian's unfettered life of excess to the eventual repercussions of his actions is managed with change of pace, lighting (Nick Schlieper) and sound (Clemence Williams - Composer and sound designer) with a particularly striking expression of the influence of time as Dorian's secret becomes harder to conceal.

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYThis production of THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is a striking piece of theatre and it is wonderful to see Eryn Jean Norvill take on this collection of characters with a marathon one-woman performance that presents each character with clarity. Holding a relevance in terms of underlying message, this is an incredibly entertaining piece of theatre. With theatres still having occupancy restrictions, secure your ticket early so you do not miss this.

https://www.sydneytheatre.com.au/whats-on/productions/2020/The-Picture-of-Dorian-Gray

Photos: Dan Boud

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BWW REVIEW: Eryn Jean Norvill Shines As the 26 Characters Of Kip Williams' Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY




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