Wilde Without the Boy

Gareth Armstrong, adapted from De Profundis by Oscar Wilde

Cahoots Theatre Company

Assembly Hall

From 04 August 2016 to 29 August 2016

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

Gerard Logan becomes a very prissy and precise Oscar Wilde for an hour as he delivers an adaptation of De Profundis, the playwright’s letter to the love of his life, Bosie or more formally Lord Alfred Douglas.

This is basically a beautifully spoken lecture, broken by short dramatisations of Wilde’s trial that led to a two-year jail sentence for homosexuality.

The sadness of the tale endures, particularly over a century on, when the “love that dare not speak its name” is legal.

From the letter, one discovers Wilde’s unshakable love for Bosie, which defies all reason, especially when its subject was consistently ungrateful, uncaring and unkind.

There is also a great sense of bewilderment, not only at this bad treatment but the loss of family, wealth and status that followed.

Under the direction of the piece’s adaptor, Gareth Armstrong, this solo show does exactly what viewers will expect, informing them of a devastating episode in a great writer’s life and demonstrating a fine actor’s prowess.

It even overcomes one of the city’s worst theatre spaces with poor sightlines and uncomfortable seating, and that is no mean achievement.