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The Judas Kiss

Rupert Everett stars as Oscar Wilde in David Hare's moving bio drama

Presented by Chichester Festival Theatre in association with Robert Fox, Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Hampstead Theatre
Written by David Hare
Directed by Neil Armfield

Charlie Rowe (Lord Alfred Douglas), Rupert Everett (Oscar Wilde), Cal MacAninch (Robert Ross), Photo Credit: Johan Persson.

David Hare's The Judas Kiss explores the forbidden relationship between Oscar Wilde and his young lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, before and after he is imprisoned for "gross indecency." Now on stage at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, this emotionally stirring and witty play features Rupert Everett as the erudite Irish poet as he embarks on a course towards self-destruction.

It is 1895 and Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, is playing in the West End after a triumphant premiere, but already the wheels are in motion which will lead to his imprisonment, downfall and vilification. Hiding out in the Cadogan Hotel in Knightsbridge, Wilde is torn between the choice to flee to France, a path his former lover Robert Ross (Cal MacAninch) strongly encourages, and the option to stay and fight with his lover Alfred Douglas or "Bosie" (Charlie Rowe) by his side. In the first half of the play, he is paralysed by indecision and instead makes himself comfortable eating lobster and drinking wine until the police come and take him away.

In the second half, we meet Wilde and Bosie nearly penniless in Naples, Italy, where they are renting a house. Wilde is noticably older and tired after doing two years of hard labour in prison, rarely getting up from his chair where he sits and writes. Meanwhile his perfectly healthy boyfriend and a new bedfellow flaunt their naked bodies and go out dancing. It becomes apparent throughout this act that Wilde's infatuation with Bosie has blinded him to the cruel reality of the situation. Wilde served time as a result of staying with the young lord, yet it is Bosie who claims he has suffered the most. This unequal love becomes even more obvious when Robert Ross visits to warn Wilde that he will lose an allowance from his estranged wife Constance if Wilde stays with his lover  — a gesture of loyalty that and friendship that Wilde sadly ignores.

The Judas Kiss is a poignant story of love and betrayal, but most importantly it's a tribute to a brilliant artist, whose wit and intellect never dim, even in times of tragedy. Everett's portrayal of Wilde is absolutely masterful. The man is barely recognizable he is so wholly consumed by his character. Neil Armfield's production is skillfully staged, with elegant costumes by Sue Blane and haunting lighting by Rick Fisher.

Whether you are a fan of Oscar Wilde, or simply enjoy a great performance, you don't want to miss this beautiful piece while it's in Toronto.

The Judas Kiss runs until May 1, 2016 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2016-03-22 - Sun, 2016-05-01
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