Hampstead Theatre is a leading theatre for new writing which has just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. We continue to seek out, nurture and promote some of the country's most exceptional theatre talent from a wide range of backgrounds. The early works of Harold Pinter, Michael Frayn, Mike Leigh, David Hare, Stephen Poliakoff (to name but a few) were all premiered by the company.
Based in Swiss Cottage (Jubilee Line, just 10 minutes from Bond Street) we are housed in a state-of-the-art purpose-built theatre with seating in our main auditorium for 325 and in our studio space for 80.
The story of Oscar Wilde's downfall is a familiar one but David Hare shines a fascinating light on his tragedy with an imagining of the hours leading up to his arrest whilst holed up in a sumptuous room at the Cadogan Hotel. Wilde's reckless determination to press on on his self-destructive path is superbly conveyed although there is no real illumination of his motives other than a horribly misplaced devotion to the repellent Lord Alfred Douglas. The second half, with Wilde exiled in Naples, is less successful as it is mostly static and Wilde's fate has already been sealed. Rupert Everett manages to resemble Wilde more than I had thought possible and Hare wisely doesn't attempt to match his epigrammatic genius. Everett is also extremely good at conveying rare glimpses of the true horror of his situation and his genuine devotion to his children with whom he was denied contact. Freedie Fox is ideal casting as the petulant, self-obsessed Bosie although he somehow makes him less repulsive than the real thing. There is also a lot of nudity, fortunately including the pneumatic Kirsty Oswald but luckily not Mr Everett. I can understand why this has now announced a West End transfer even though it's slightly inferior to Hampstead's last biographical play, The Last Duchess.
- David Baxter
12 Oct 12
Very, very good. Great play, excellent cast, a superb performance by Rupert Everett and subtle direction make for a great evening. Also, the Italian fisherman made me feel very bella indeed. - addicted to theatre
10 Oct 12
Really enjoyed this revival. Rupert Everett is really excellent as Oscar Wilde. If any actor was born to play a role, then this is it. He embraces the role totally and gives a compelling performance. Strong support and excellent stanging make this a great night out - Paul Wallis
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