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The Judas Kiss

By David Hare

Featuring Chris Baldock, Oliver Coleman,

Nigel Langley, Soren Jensen, Lauren Murtagh,

Zak Zavod and Nores Cerfeda

Directed by Jason Cavanagh with Celeste Cody


"The challenging, changeable role of Wilde is played to perfection by Chris Baldock, who simply nails the part, capturing beautifully the witty and charming bravado of the man prior to his arrest, and the pained, tortured soul thereafter. Oliver Coleman as Wilde’s literary executor and long-standing friend Robert Ross is equally impressive, cleverly demonstrating presence and commitment with an understated fury...The Judas Kiss is another fine example of why Mockingbird Theatre continues to fire along with the big guns...this production is one of Melbourne’s not-to-be missed theatrical experiences." - Theatre Press

"Jason Cavanagh’s elegant revival of David Hare’s 1998 play is a rich portrait of unequal love, and a moving portrayal of what it means to live under the conviction that “Only when we love do we see the true person. Love is not the illusion. Life is.”...Under Chris Baldock’s thespian brilliance, Oscar who died more than 100 years ago wits his way back to life before our eyes...Other performances, too, have been tremendous. Nigel Langley’s Bosie is positively unlikable (as he should be), callow and curiously self-righteous; hotel servants by Soren Jensen and Lauren Murtagh and Zak Zavod are appropriately human beneath uniforms of subservience. Oliver Coleman, though, is worthy of special mention: remarkably poised, he combines in Robert a quiet dignity and an emotional anguish when told that what he had with Oscar is “not the same” as what Oscar now has with Bosie" - To Dad With Love

"In The Judas Kiss, as history has proven, the casting of Oscar Wilde is everything – and in Chris Baldock, we have a perfect incarnation. Baldock is simply mesmerising, and in the play’s punishing second act when he is cruelly confined to a chair, he is even better. The temptation for an actor to show off in this magnificent role must be overwhelming, but Baldock is in complete control – emotionally, vocally and physically...As Wilde’s ex-lover, and now wise counsellor, Robert Ross, Oliver Coleman is superb. Coleman’s terribly British rigidity is broken only momentarily, in a divine moment, when Ross believes that Wilde is making an attempt to rekindle the intimacy they once shared. It is a brilliantly acted moment. Everyone is changed by the events of the first act, but Coleman’s brittle, Machiavellian Robert is revealed to be as damaged as Oscar. He has, if it were possible, become more rigid and immovable, and Coleman’s command of the role is absolute...Lauren Murtagh creates a gorgeously beguiling young Phoebe, the hotel staffer, while Soren Jensen is excellent as Sandy Moffatt, the hotel manager, who steers the whole mess of interpersonal contradictions that power Act One with aplomb. Zak Zavod’s marvellous staffer Arthur, is a delightful performance. Flirtatious, enigmatic and omnipotent, one is left with the sense that if anyone is going to do well out of this life, it’s going to be this resourceful young man. Nores Cerfeda is perfect as the Italian fisherman Galileo, in whose company Bosie finds respite from the rat-infested hotel room where he and Oscar are staying....Cavanagh and Cody have done an outstanding job honouring this work, and this splendid ensemble – beautifully lit by Rob Sowinksi – have obviously been delivered to the stage with immense confidence in their craft and their performances. There is much to contemplate after witnessing a creative undertaking on this vast scale from an independent theatre company, and Mockingbird Theatre are to be commended to taking it on, and winning." - Stage Whispers

"Director Jason Cavanagh's excellent production of David Hare's The Judas Kiss at Theatreworks in St Kilda tonight completely confounded my modest expectations...Chris Baldock as Wilde gives an amazing, mesmerizing performance in a difficult role. Oscar Wilde was a charmer known as the greatest raconteur of his age, whose erudite quips and vast knowledge set many a table and theatre on a roar. Baldock captures not only Wilde's brilliance, but also his sensitivity, anger and the sense of the pathos he felt in his own situation, quite an accomplishment...Nigel Langley as Bosie is exceptional...Oliver Coleman as Robert Ross, Wilde's devoted disciple is excellent...It is not often one leaves a theatre after two and a half hours feeling as fresh and energized as I did tonight. This is a production highly recommended and is not to be missed." - Crikey

"Chris Baldock's performance as Oscar Wilde is nothing short of a tour-de-force. He is practically on stage the entire play. He never misses a beat and his performance moves from the introspective, lovelorn Wilde, to a broken man who clearly has nothing left. Baldock's experience as an actor is evident, particularly in act two, where he is confined to a chair. He delivers every line with delicious relish and the audience is clearly transfixed. It would be quite easy to take the character into larger than life territory, however, Baldock keeps a lid on it, never becoming caricature...The other star of the show is the unseen Kellie Bray. Her costumes are a feast for the eyes. They evoke period, place and character perfectly...It's pleasing to see Mockingbird moving from strength to strength and taking a risk on what some consider to be a controversial piece of theatre." - The Theatre Nerd

"Yes Mockingbird, well done! This is the calibre of show I have come to know and love from this exciting young company...The main role of Mr Wilde was played by the masterful Chris Baldock, who managed to bring to life the wit and stinging timing for which Wilde and his works are notable for. Baldock’s timing both with the comedic moments and dramatic were stunning and he was truly a pleasure to watch on stage. Another standout was Oliver Coleman who’s presence on stage was so strong, his diction precise and his character so formed, the world could have ended yet he would have kept going. It was truly a fantastic and honest performance for Coleman..." - Popculture-y

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