Why the producers of Judas Kiss decided to stage this production at BAM’s cavernous Harvey Theater I have no idea. A play which takes place in a hotel room and sitting room of an Italian villa needs an intimate venue, not a massive theater. But I digress…
Judas Kiss concerns two days in the life of Oscar Wilde – the first act takes place right after he has lost a libel lawsuit to his lover’s father which will result in him being arrested for indecency. His friend and former lover Robbie Ross is trying to get him to flee to France while his selfish lover Lord Bosie wants Oscar to stay and fight his father. The second act takes places years later at a run down Italian villa where a tired Oscar spends his days while Bosie takes on new lovers. Rupert Everett as Oscar makes the play! He is fantastic and really sinks into the role. He is at turns dry, witty, defeated, and tragic. This is definitely a role Everett was born to play. The other actors are good in their roles though only Robbie Ross really stands out as a character. Lord Bosie is written as a vain, boorish twit and the other characters don’t really serve much purpose. The real mystery of the play is why Wilde would throw everything away for the haughty Bosie.
Three of the male characters have nude scenes. The first nude scene is a little disappointing due to staging choices. Elliot Balchin plays a bellhop who is caught having sex with a chamber maid at the top of the first act by the older gay butler. Balchin spends most of his nude scene wrapped in a sheet though he briefly flashes his dick at the butler as a “get out of jail free card”. However, the actor barely opens the sheet so only those directly in front of him see anything (those in the audience right side section). You then see his backside as he gets dressed (I wish the actor has been more bold and dropped the sheet completely – it would have made the scene funnier I think).
At the beginning of the second act, Lord Boise (played by Charlie Rowe) is nude in bed with an Italian fisherman (Tom Colley). Rowe shows his uncut dick when he gets out of bed (at the performance I saw he seemed very unconcerned with quickly covering up – he flashed the goods several more times as he fussed with the sheet).
Lastly, Tom Colley spends the majority of his stage time completely nude. He walks around stage naked and then sits on the floor for about 10 minutes showing off his body while Oscar and Bosie talk. He looks like a statue come to life, very fit with slightly hairy chest and uncut dick (Oscar even comments on the size!). Kudos to Colley for being so unafraid and comfortable with his nudity!
One important note about seating: Do NOT get seats in the audience left section of the theater. Go for the right part of the center section or the audience right side section. As noted by blog reader welq, those on the left have a more limited view of the nude scenes, in particular Colley’s as he sits facing audience right.
Show ends June 12