Crisis artist Jack reviews The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

With opening scenes leaving you in perpetual confusion, it’s hard to grasp what’s to come – leaving the viewer wanting to know more, to have what one hasn’t already got, to watch on, to see if there more to it all than the true reflection.

Through modern technology it’s been made possible for us to create our own reflection, our own image of ourself, the yearning to do so exacerbated through an ever-more distantly lonely and detached society locked down (out) in our homes and locked into our phones.

This truth is brought to you throughout the story of The Picture Of Dorian Gray, where the love for one’s own image has become more important than the inner spirit and natural love from another soul. It leaves the characters without humanity, until they are hit with the reality of their own mortality and their online images live on through vanity alone. The double-edged sword of the ego.

It makes me think of the story of Narcissus, and how the water he saw his reflection in could be viewed as a filter, a distorted image of himself where the beholder can fill in the gaps with their own ideals of themselves.

As Dorian Gray in the original book gained immortality through the portrait of himself (or should we say ‘portrayal’) the Dorian in this play also believes he will achieve immortality through the ether of online dimensions, and a filter giving an ideal portrait or portrayal of himself. Like Narcissus, he falls in love with the idea of himself made ideal through the filter, left perplexed with a growing feeling of cold loneliness engulfing what remains of his now internally ugly ego, as he disconnects further from his true self.

Narcissus fell in love with his own image, We now have the power to create our own images, as we ‘see’ ourselves.

With this piece a theatre company have unshackled the stage and embraced the change that this lockdown malarkey has brought, breathing down the necks of all aspects in our lives. They’ve managed to bring the stage to the screen, make it cinematic and engaging, yet it still feels nostalgically like a play as if the stage comes to you.

If I am to be asked for one word, one phrase, “bravo” I’d say. “Bravo.” It feels like the stage but looks like the screen.