Dorian Gray - Matthew Bourne

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From 2 to 14 September 2008, returned from 7 to 19 July 2009 at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London

Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray returns to London this summer!

Set in the image-obsessed world of contemporary art and politics, this 'black fairy tale' tells the story of an exceptionally alluring young man who makes a pact with the devil.

Amongst London's beautiful people, Dorian Gray is the 'It Boy' - an icon of beauty and truth in an increasingly ugly world. The destructive power of beauty, the blind pursuit of pleasure and the darkness and corruption that lie beneath the charming fašade; the themes behind Wilde's cautionary tale have never been more timely.

Matthew Bourne's dance theatre retelling of Oscar Wilde's gothic fable was a sell-out success at Sadler's Wells Theatre in 2008 and was the most highly attended dance event ever at the Edinburgh International Festival.

This was Matthew Bourne's first new production in three years reunites him with designer Lez Brotherston, composer Terry Davies and lighting designer Paule Constable who where the creative team behind the double Olivier award-winning hit Play Without Words at the National Theatre.

Please note that this production of Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray in London contains adult themes and is therefore not suitable for children under 14.

Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray was originally staged at the Edinburgh Festival before transferring to London's Sadler's Wells Theatre from 2 to 14 September 2008.

Matthew Bourne, the choreographer of Dorian Gray says: "I'm actually quite scared of Dorian Gray. There isn't a single sympathetic character to lead you through the narrative, which makes it one of the hardest things I've ever worked on. No James [as in the 'romantic wee ballet' Highland Fling], no Cinderella - there's simply no one here you can invest in and go on a journey with. There's no big heart. I'm not approaching Wilde in the way that John Osborne did for the theatre in the 1970s. I'm simply attracted by the themes in Dorian Gray that people will recognise: the obsession with staying young and the depravity and corruption beneath perfection. Dorian Gray is the essential 'It Boy' - an icon of beauty and truth in an increasingly ugly world. Wilde's artist Basil is now a photographer, a Damien Hirst-like figure. and Dorian is going to be an international icon, a poster boy fronting an ad campaign for the new scent, 'Immortal pour Homme'."

"Dorian Gray updates Oscar Wilde's fable of the picture in the attic, moving the story to a modern world of fashion and photography... Matthew Bourne is a deft story-teller, with sharp characterisation and witty detail. Yet his choreography isn't really about steps. His greatest gift is showing character through movement. How his dancers stand, how they look at each other, matters more than the footwork. Dorian Gray's pure dance scenes - and there are far too many of them - are all padding. Catwalk models pose, or go through generic jumps and turns. Dorian's romantic dreams of an affair with Cyril are tedious. When Bourne shows us the reality, it's awkward, much less dancey, but gripping." The Independent

"Lez Brotherston's revolving set allows Bourne to jump-cut easily from scene to scene, and these hyperactive gear changes are smoothly enhanced by Paule Constable's understatedly dramatic lighting... Bourne's dancemaking is at its best in the boy-on-boy duets and in Dorian's narcissistic solo with a camera. The ensembles would pass muster in a musical, but the largely gesture-based routines are repetitive and overlong... By trying to tackle the many undercurrents of the novel, Bourne quite simply loses the plot, crowding his scenario with incident and denying his over-stereotyped characters the space they need to develop." The Sunday Telegraph