“Utterly compelling and heart-rending, Brilliant ensemble acting. Go!!!” Stephen Fry
‘The Trials of Oscar Wilde’ came to Underhill Hall at Rochester Independent College directly from Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall on 13 November 2014. The European Arts Company chose the Medway venue for the very last performance of their tour of the much acclaimed play with the complete original cast.
Written by John O’Connor and Merlin Holland who is Oscar Wilde’s grandson and acclaimed author of ‘The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde’, the play is based on the original words spoken in court. It stars John Gorick, Rupert Mason & William Kempsell, and is directed by Peter Craze. Using transcripts of the libel and criminal trials which led to Oscar Wilde’s incarceration in 1895, the European Arts Company seeks to illuminate this lesser known aspect of the life of the “wittiest man who ever lived”.
Merlin Holland says: “Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to tell the story of my grandfather on stage but none of them have really managed to bring alive the drama of Oscar’s courtroom appearances. It’s a chance for audiences to see the real Oscar for the first time. This production shows him fighting for his art as well as his life and we get a real sense of Oscar’s intellect at full stretch – his complexity, wit and deep humanity.”
The actor playing Wilde is John Gorick, who the Observer‘s Susannah Clapp described as a “lofty and beguiling Wilde, his thumbs in his embroidered waistcoat pockets, his long cheeks fading slowly from confidence to misery.”
Local Wilde enthusiasts will be inspired by this performance and for local sixth formers studying English or Drama there will be a pre-show talk by Director Peter Craze about studying Drama at University and/or Drama School.
Peter has recently returned from America, where he directed PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE by Steve Martin in Hartford, Connetticut and BLITHE SPIRIT in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His directing has taken him all over the world including Japan, Germany, France and the USA. He has worked in San Francisco, Miami and New York where he directed the only ever staged reading of Samuel Beckett’s first play ELUTHERIA at Theatre Workshop, NY. He has directed in London and in Regional English Theatre including the current production of THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE at Trafalgar Studios in the West End. As an actor, he has worked extensively in Film, Theatre, Radio and Television appearing in many series including EASTENDERS, BLAKE’S 7 and DR WHO. He has directed and taught at the RADA and for many years was the Principal of Drama Studio London where he is now an Associate and still directs productions.
Here are some photos taken by A level photography student Joe Sutton on the night: