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Theatre Review: Simon Callow in De Profundis ****

Michael Cox reviews a relevant production with a tremendous performance.

A single light dangles over a man. Sat in a chair and dressed in a suit, he begins to talk to us: about injustice, betrayal and his imprisonment.

“He” is Oscar Wilde, and De Profundis is the letter he wrote to Lord Alfred Douglas in prison—a letter never sent but published decades later.

Simon Callow voices Oscar Wilde but doesn’t ‘play’ him: no dandy clothes or caricature tropes here. Wilde’s words are received as if they’re spoken directly to us today: immediate and passionate.

At 80 minutes, it might feel a tad long at times, but Callow is tremendous and Wilde’s words demand to be heard: a call from the past that is as relevant now as it was then.

Simon Callow in De Profundis is at the Assembly Rooms until August 26th.

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