In three short months, Oscar Wilde, the most celebrated playwright and wit of Victorian England, was toppled from the apex of British society into humiliation and ruin. Drawing from trial documents, newspaper accounts, and writings of the key players, Moisés Kaufman ignites an incendiary mix of sex and censorship, with a cast of characters ranging from George Bernard Shaw to Queen Victoria herself.
©2010 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2010 L.A. Theatre Works
For all true Wildeans out there, this audio uses a live audience that reacts naturally to the dramatic events that took place at the Old Bailey in 1895. Beautifully and cleverly dramatized, the piece also adds sporadic information on the effects of the trial in the Victorian media, quoting excerpts from the London Gazette, the Pall Mall Gazette, and autobiographical statements from Lord Alfred Douglas, George Bernard Shaw, the Marquiss of Queensberry, and even Queen Victoria, herself . This gives both the new as well as the scholarly-prepared Wilde follower a closer look into how society perceived the topics of sodomy and homosexuality as "sexual inversion".
While I would have liked to listen to a different and less dramatic Oscar, the fact remains that he was indeed dramatic and over-accentuated. Overall, the play is effective in producing in the reader the emotions that typically manifest during a live performance.
I came into this already quite knowledgeable about the life of Oscar Wilde and the transcripts of his trial. Even so, I found this play to be riveting and informative. The acting talent is outstanding as well. I highly recommend it.
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