Matthew Bourne is famous for his reincarnations of famous literary or theatrical storytelling’s such as Swan Lake, Nutcracker, and Carmen. In his most recent of works, Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray is slickly adapted into the 21st century.
Bourne successfully translates the moral and narrative of Dorian Gray without explicitly transporting it. He does not attempt to capture the complete narrative of Wilde’s story but makes it his own, whilst managing to retain its essence.
The stark contrast between moments of rigid and sharp movement, with beautifully fluid choreography is only mirrored in the striking black and whites of Lez Brotherston’s design. It is Brotherston’s concept that gives Bourne’s vision its legs, in the form of creating a dream like pace at which scenes blend seamlessly from one to the other.
The fluid pace of the piece does much to demonstrate Matthew Bourne’s cinematic vision for the creative art of dance in which one can not help but notice the explicit filmic eye that he posses whilst creating theatre.
The performance, especially in the first half, tends to verge on being repetitively blatant in its theme of celebrity; a subject that is continuously explored in contemporary performance. However, the backbones of the production such as the sexual drive that seems to steer nearly all of the duet aids in elevating Bourne’s message; such as highlighting how sex may be the driving force of our modern culture, especially in concern with art and media.
Richard Winsor proves himself to be the shining beacon at the fore front of the New Adventures Company, his skill in retaining choreography whilst embodying his own soul into the role is most apparent. Winsor is supported by an equally able cast who do nothing but aid the world of ‘beautiful people’ that Bourne has attempted to emulate on stage.
What is most encouraging about this production is to see an almost full house at a commercial venue during a performance of contemporary dance, especially in looking at majority of young faces. Whilst the piece may be a little predictable, I could also not think of a better introduction for young people to contemporary performance.
- Ben Wooldridge