views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

Whether you normally look down from the cheap seats in the gods, or sit up close in the front row, there's so much happening on the London performing arts scene and comedy circuit, it can be difficult to decide which shows you should spend your cash on and which shows should quite frankly, pay you for turning up.

At Views from the Gods, we review all the latest London talent, from West End plays to emerging comedians. We hope our site helps introduce you to some new performers.

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When I think of Oscar Wilde, I think of his more controversial works first - The Picture of Dorian Gray or Salome, for example. I automatically remember the novels and plays he penned that really upset the delicate sensibilities of his time and ultimately contributed to his downfall. I guess there's something about a man with a supposedly debauched lifestyle and a bitterly tragic ending that makes you disassociate his name from the sheer innocence of fairytales. Orange Moon Theatre have done us all the immense favour of shining a light on The Nightingale and the Rose and Other Tales and collectively adapting some of Wilde's stories for the stage.

What draws me most to Wilde's fairytales is there's a distinct message of "life's rubbish - and?" running through them. The company retell his stories, largely faithfully, with a playful naivety that contrasts deliciously with the rather bleak endings that would have Mickey and Minnie in disbelieving tears. I guess given the way the author was treated in his own life, he wasn't that inclined to give anyone else the saccharine ending he was clearly never going to receive. We see devotion and real sacrifice rejected carelessly, to the point where you do feel shocked at just how bleak life can be sometimes. The plot may be basic - a student (Victor Mellors) seeking out a red rose for his lady love (Claudia Carroll) - yet the emotional response we have is quite complex. You can simplify a narrative all you want, but the subtleties of human behaviour remain, as do the complicated reactions to it. We empathise all too easily with the rejection.

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