The Judas Kiss

David Hare

The Judas Kiss

Oscar Wilde’s dangerous philosophy leads him on a path to destruction. The Judas Kiss describes two pivotal moments on that path: the day Wilde decides to stay in England and face imprisonment, and the night, after his release two years later, when the lover for whom he risked everything betrays him. With a quiet but burning sense of outrage, David Hare presents the consequences of taking an uncompromisingly moral position in a world defined by fear, expedience and conformity. 3.8 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
The Judas Kiss

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Hampstead Theatre
Director Neil Armfield
Cast Rupert Everett, Freddie Fox, Ben Hardy, Kirsty Oswald, Alister Cameron, Cal Macaninch
From September 2012
Until October 2012
Box Office 020 7722 9301
 

Oscar Wilde’s dangerous philosophy leads him on a path to destruction. The Judas Kiss describes two pivotal moments on that path: the day Wilde decides to stay in England and face imprisonment, and the night, after his release two years later, when the lover for whom he risked everything betrays him. With a quiet but burning sense of outrage, David Hare presents the consequences of taking an uncompromisingly moral position in a world defined by fear, expedience and conformity.

Transfers to The Duke of York's Theatre from 9th January 2013

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Fiona Mountford

Time has been kinder to The Judas Kiss than some initial judgments: on second viewing it’s revealed as a rich, resonant piece of writing, which at last boasts the ideal cast.

13/09/2012

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The Daily Express

Julie Carpenter

The young and currently ubiquitous Freddie Fox is perfectly petulant as the privileged, preening Bosie who is so shallow he makes a puddle of water look deep. He’s so keen to throw his toys out of the pram that you can’t help but question whether he really could have been that irritatingly selfish. If so, you hunger after some explanation which is seemingly absent here.

14/09/2012

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

The one flaw in Hare's concept is that Bosie is such a childish hysteric we never see the redeeming qualities that inspired Wilde's love. In other respects, this is the most convincing dramatic portrait of Wilde that I have come across – one that captures him as both romantic individualist and tragic victim. It also allows Rupert Everett to give the performance of his career.

12/09/2012

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The Stage

Ben Dowell

Our star gives us all the lolloping, the puffed cheeks, the slow gait, but Everett being Everett he brings a good deal more glamour to the role. Not only that, one senses that the actor knows it and this infuses his performance in a way that slightly mars plausibility.

13/09/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Dominic Cavendish

Hare’s avowed intention is to avoid the cliché of Wilde as the born wag, liberally dispensing bon mots, though the script displays a formidable amount of compressed wit and aphoristic flair, not to mention opportunities for male nudity – amply taken – at which our hero can raise an arch eyebrow. Yet the once finely chiselled, nowadays more haggard Everett needs to flaunt his inner dandy more to give a greater sense of how the hallowed genius once captivated.

13/09/2012

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Time Out

Tom Wicker

Hare's 1998 play never labours the analogy - here, a string of brilliant bon mots gilt some sharp edges. Director Neil Armfield emphasises this by draping the Hampstead stage in sumptuous crushed velvet and then filling it with casual nudity, from randy hotel servants to an Italian fisherman. The gloves are off, along with everything else. The point is clear: sex is not the issue, society is.

13/09/2012

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The Times

Sam Marlowe

In the production’s final moments, Rick Fisher’s eloquent lighting creates such a huge shadow of Fox that he seems to tower over the hunched Everett like the Selfish Giant of Wilde’s story for children. The worship of this beautiful monster has helped destroy Oscar, and Everett’s Wilde is almost serenely aware that Bosie is unworthy of such devotion; his rage is reserved for a hypocritical morality that continues to punish him after his sentence is served. He is tragic, heroic, human: a flawed Christ figure, fascinating and deeply affecting.

14/09/2012

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The Observer

Susannah Clapp

Neil Armfield's production is a tremendous show but Hare's understated script is overplayed. Rupert Everett's Wilde and Freddie Fox's Bosie are sumptuous: there is not a moment when they are not riveting, but both behave as if they were performing in a Wilde play rather than in this one.

16/09/2012

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The Independent

Paul Taylor

One point of view, Bosie is himself a victim – of his appalling background and circumstances, as we did when Jude Law portrayed him on screen. As a result, the belief expressed by Hare’s Wilde that “the truth of a person is only visible through love” sounds less like a visionary insight than certifiable self-deception.

13/09/2012

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The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

Mr Everett does OK but the lopsidedness of the second half — when Oscar barely moves from his chair yet still must speak most of the lines — is against him. Also: how about giving him a touch of an Irish accent? At present this is a bit of a drawlathon.

14/09/2012

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The Financial Times

Ian Shuttleworth

Hare’s Wilde is a blend of his own time and ours: fond of epigrams and affectation, but, when speaking plainly, abrasively sarcastic. Rupert Everett is well cast in the role with its combination of floridity and acidity, although in those Wildean locks he resembles an epicene version of Steve Coogan.

16/09/2012

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