by Charlotte Ndupuechi.
Going the Maskers Studio Theatre is always such a joy and living in Shirley, I’m very lucky to have this on my doorstep.
From the moment you walk in you are met with a lovely warm welcome. The bar is incredibly reasonable, so it seems only two right to have a drink. After all, you’re supporting the theatre.
As we make our way to the now allocated seats, we are left wondering how such a small theatre is going to take on such an enormous story. The picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde did not disappoint. The story of a young man who sold his soul for eternal youth. With such simple staging- a black curtain, some clever lighting and a few chairs, they brought each and every scene to life. A plain frame represented the painting and left you to imagining what it might hold.
Dorian Gray, played by Alex Mawers, makes an impressive first performance at the Theatre and must find it a odd change from his day job working in the NHS.
The director Paul Green did an amazing job of telling the story so concisely, focusing on the intertwining relationships between the characters Dorian Gray, Lord Henry Wotton and the painter Basil Hallwood. With so many themes – of the ownership of art, love, friendship, the pursuit of pleasure and so many classic lines. It was a pleasure to see them delivered in context:
“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”
One of the things I liked was the real feeling of accessibility – no long scenes or overly complicated language, as you might expect from a classic. The director really adapted this well, keeping the essence of the story, the language and the characters, but in a very presentable way.
All of the cast performed to a very high standard, staying on stage for much of the production which must have been difficult and adapting to play different roles. They moved around the stage adding drama and anticipation to the story.
With tickets at such a reasonable price, it really is worth trying to see their next production. Whatever they have on, I always go as its such a great value night out and I’ve never been disappointed yet.
Well done to the volunteers, the supporters and all the cast and crew that make it possible. A real gem in the heart of Shirley.
Gormenghast a gothic drama, adapted from Mervyn Peake’s famous trilogy will be on from the 24-29 April. You can book via the website maskers.org.uk or you can phone 0333 666 3366 or find them on Facebook.
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