Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Judas Kiss by David Hare: Richmond Theatre

31st October 2012

This production of the Judas Kiss by David Hare has now gone on tour from the Hampstead Theatre where it had been sold out.  I had tried in vain to get a ticket for a matinee a few weeks ago and waited till it opened in Richmond Theatre, Surrey.  A friend booked through the ATG box office which worked out well and we collected the tickets at Richmond Theatre.

I can recall seeing David Hare’s play “Plenty” at the National Theatre in London when it opened with Kate Nelligan in 1978.  Hare’s work is well known for being anti- establishment, though this play is rather more entertaining than a comment on politics.  We do get Bosie trying to get his cousin, George Wyndham an MP, to pull strings with the Attorney General and Asquith, the Home Secretary, but Oscar Wilde has realised that fate has given him no choice.  He does not want to ‘run like a fox’ and decides to enjoy his lobster and rice lunch, while a clock ticks away, chiming his lost moment to catch a boat train into exile.  The first half ends with a loud knock on the door. 

In the second half, Wilde, having served his prison sentence, joins Bosie in Naples.  He spends much of his time sitting, only rising for a final farewell with Bosie, and wondering out loud who is the real Judas.

There are some witty lines in this play.  Ones that I can remember include a reference to “a horizontal Uffizzi”, “a sunset with topaz and orpiment colours” and Bosie describing Ross as always being “the third party”.

The programme has some interesting essays included along with the credits and biographies.  A timeline of Oscar Wilde is provided covering the important events in his life and works.

Rupert Everett gives an outstanding representation of Oscar Wilde and as far as I could make out from listening there was no hammy acting.  (I heard his latest autiobiography on BBC Radio4 Book of the Week and had not liked it, giving up after two instalments.) Freddie Fox, who plays Bosie, is also believable as the son of a marquis.  

A friend had told me that there was quite a lot of full frontal nudity and I was able to detect this from the dialogue.  My friend at the performance commented during the interval (chocolate ice cream at one’s seat) that the nudity in the first half seemed to be a bit gratuitous.  I said “Wait till you see the second half!” 

I managed to enjoy the play without the graphic description or even any audio description.  There are enough sound and lighting cues to indicate time passing.  Apparently the clock in the first half has no hands, but it does chime. 

The three main characters were:

Robert Ross played by Cal Macaninch
Oscar Wilde played by Rupert Everett
Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie) played by Freddie Fox

More information on the production can be found on the Theatre Royal Bath Productions website: as well as ATG Tickets

The Judas Kiss, with Rupert Everett, is scheduled to be in London's West End at Duke of York's Theatre from 9th January 2013 for a limited season.  More information can be found on or by calling ATG on 0844 871 7623

You may wish to check out an audio described performance but if you can’t make it, take a friend and get them to describe the bits of interest!