The King’s Theatre are never far away from a good old Oscar Wilde romp; a jab at upper-class morality in the safety of the bourgeoisie theatre. But there seems to be something more sinister bending our choices this season, with Paranormal Activity breaking box office records, and Woman in Black hitting the stages and now this Wildeian fate-play coming too, it seems that our desire to get creeped out, immersed and told to believe in something greater than ourselves, is reaching new heights.
There’s an unadulterated desire to escape right now
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime is one of Oscar Wilde’s lesser performed pieces, about a deliriously happy, up standing citizen of Victorian society, the titular Lord Arthur (Lee Mead) who somehow lands himself in the hands of Podgers, the clairvoyant. Podgers reveals that Arthur is destined to commit a murder and it’s up to him to commit it before his marriage to protect his future wife.
So, from Wilde pro Bill Kenwright with the regulars on stage (Kate O’Mara) and newbie Mead taking the title role fresh from winning Any Dream Will Do, it’s clear that this will be a high-quality production all round, bleeding relevance as Arthur searches for the right person to sacrifice so he can live out his upper-class dreams. Bringing the injustices of the world into a microcosm and showing people who believe in destiny and shape their lives according to the whims of others, no matter what the outcome for the rest of the world, is a disturbingly contemporary theme. Whether it’s because we’ve been numbed by images of death and destruction with tepid media overviews (number one cause of ‘Oh dearism’), or because in order to not shoot the TV when another RBS ass-licking advert comes on, there’s an unadulterated desire to escape right now and what we’re seeing on our stages and screens reflects that. We want to believe there’s something else out there so we can trust that the banking crisis, the war in Iraq, the injustices all over the world, are not our fault, perhaps any dream will do…
Mon 22 – Sat 27 Feb
Box Office: 0131 529 6000