Richard and I saw this David Hare play at BAM on 6/4. The central character is Oscar Wilde: the first act takes place in a London hotel with Wilde on the brink of being indicted for "gross indecency" - - the second act takes place in a Naples hotel after Wilde is released from prison.
Rupert Everett played Wilde, and he was the primary draw of the show. We got a special bonus before the show: he was having a bowl of soup in the little Italian restaurant where we had dinner! Very handsome and very tall in person, a fine figger of a man. He looked rather dissipated and portly onstage, so it was a treat to see, first-hand, that he doesn't look at all like that in real life.
The first act was as strongly constructed as a 19th century well-made play. The characters are Wilde, his lover Lord Alfred Douglas (known as Bosie), his friend and former lover Robbie Ross, and three servants in the hotel. Bosie is played as a high-strung little twit, and the performance by Freddie Fox was maybe a trifle shrill, but generally very good. Cal MacAnnich, playing Ross, was the perfect antidote to Fox and Bosie: reasonable, but still warm and affectionate.
The second act wasn't as good, it was listless in comparison. I suppose that matched the tone of the action, but it didn't come across in a satisfying way. Also it went on a little long.
This show has been touring for a while, and Everett has gathered a marvelous pile of accolades, many reviewers calling this the performance of his career. And it is. He had the brittle exterior of Wilde but also gave us a glimpse into the deeply troubled inner self. He's working on a film about Wilde at the end of this life, I'm already looking forward to it.