Theatre Review: De Profundis

16 Jun

Plot: During his sentence in Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde wrote a letter to his lover, agonising over the lack of contact. It is perhaps the greatest love letter ever written, filled with a torrent of accusation, passion and eventually reconciliation.

Didn’t I say in my review of The Year of Magical Thinking that monologues weren’t for me? So what was I doing back at the Lyttelton, this time to see Corin Redgrave reading Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, shouldn’t I have learned my lesson?

I thought that as it was just 50 minutes, surely I can stay awake for that time and I did. Also, after having seen The Importance of Being Earnest which I enjoyed, I wanted to start to get to know Wilde and realised after this reading that I knew little of the man. Without meaning to compare the Redgrave siblings, I much preferred Corin’s monologue because it was played convincingly with such passion. Here was a man whose heart was not only broken but whose spirit was crushed with hard labour and I have to give it to Mr. Redgrave for managing to show us this range of emotions. The audience gave him a warm applause that didn’t seem to want to end that on the 3rd curtain call, Mr. Redgrave let go of the arm of the theatre attendant who was assisting him on stage and gave us one last bow.

De Profundis: 3/5

De Profundis is playing at the Lyttelton, National Theatre on July 1 and 2.

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