London Drama Group presents The Play That is Oscar Wilde aka The Life of Oscar Wilde at the Cockpit, a somewhat confusing title with a somewhat confused performance.
Although well written, as ever with plays written for a different time, the dialogue was a little clunky at points, but in general it was a well crafted play that gave the actors a lot to work with.
The role of Oscar Wilde was shared between all of the actors at one point or another. The opening Oscar gave a solid performance, with a good aesthetic for the role. Throughout the performance, he created the most contrast between his characters, making it very clear and easy to follow his transitions. The second male Oscar gave a good performance but his most memorable moments came in the final scenes of the play as the superbly-accented Irish priest.
The actress playing the Lawyer/first lover/Oscar gave an ernest performance. She dealt very well in feeding the audience with lots of information as the lawyer. The final Oscar was unfortunately slightly difficult to understand. She brought a lot of emotion but unfortunately most of it was lost as she was hard to understand or was turned away from the audience. This was a contrast to the actress who started as the mother. She gave a strong, mature performance and her moments as the mother were especially poignant.
However, the stand out performance came from the woman playing Constance. She seemed to carry the performance, whether as smarmy Wilde in the courtroom scenes or as the suffering Constance confession scene. Although the play was well acted it was let down by sloppy transitions and direction. The Cockpit Theatre is a fantastic space and yet the play didn’t seem to fit the theatre. I should also point out that corpsing onstage is unprofessional and detracted from the performance.
All in all, the performance was a little slow but the actors did their utmost to deliver a good performance.