Dorian Gray preview

Dorian Gray

Last year's International Festival dance hit is looking even better

In August 2008, the eyes of the dance world turned expectantly on one man: Matthew Bourne. Known internationally for choreographing fun shows for all the family – Edward Scissorhands and Nutcracker to name but two – Bourne had strayed into unfamiliar territory. Not only did his bold re-working of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray tackle sex, drugs and violence, but it premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival.

‘There was a lot of hype,’ recalls dancer Richard Windsor. ‘It was the fastest-selling dance show in Festival history, and such a different thing for Matthew to do. I think it shocked some people, but they also appreciated the fact we didn’t hold back.’

A year later, Bourne’s company is back in Scotland with Dorian Gray. As with all his productions, however, a degree of tweaking has taken place. ‘It’s always growing and being fine-tuned,’ explains Windsor. ‘And the storyline flows better now. For me, it’s been great to re-think the character and delve deeper – I can’t wait to perform it again with the changes.’

According to Bourne, Windsor’s ability to carry a role was one of the things that inspired him to adapt the work in the first place. As the eponymous young man, Windsor changes from naive wannabe to egotistical hedonist and mentally ill murder in two acts – quite a challenge.

‘I approach things not just as a dancer, but as an actor,’ says Windsor, ‘and Dorian is a real gift to perform. I’m on stage the entire time and it’s such an emotional rollercoaster – I try not to think about it too much, and just let go.’

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 29 Sep–Sat 3 Oct.

Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray

Big-budget dance reinvention of Oscar Wilde's novel with Bourne's trademark gender trickery, in which the eternally beautiful boy is now a male model. 'Part of Glasgay!'

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