REVIEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Evening Standard, London (UK) – by Charles Spencer
Oscar Wilde once remarked that he had put his genius into his life and only his talent into his work. And Neil Titley’s sympathetic one-man show at the Kings Head, Work is the Curse of the Drinking Classes, proves that for once the familiarly flip Wilde aphorism contains more than a grain of truth. Great success and public approval were brutally followed by disgrace, downfall and the kind of weary self-knowledge which suffering seems to bring.
Remarkably, Titley manages to touch on all these facets of Wilde. He has based it on the writer’s letters and essays and set in Paris in 1898, two years before the exile’s death. Naturally the bon mots and withering judgments are there in plenty – ‘The world is a stage but the play is badly cast’ among them – but so too is the fatigue and sadness of a figure much more sinned against than sinning.
Titley balances Wilde’s almost dutiful humour with an unsentimental portrayal of his suffering in Reading jail, his bitter perception of man’s inhumanity to man.
He also captures his character’s dignity in despair and the comedy makes the heartbreak of Wilde’s life even more poignant. It is a most moving effect, and ironically one which Wilde rarely achieved in his own work.’
Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe) – by Peter Aswegan
‘An entirely superb performance…From the moment this blowsy, overweight character in grubby evening dress sauntered on to the bare set, we were treated to a sparkling exhibition of Wilde’s wit by a professional who knew exactly what he was about.
It was an object lesson in stagecraft and the man simply WAS Oscar Wilde.’
Punch Magazine (UK). – by Sheridan Morley
‘There are many good jokes here, plus a glimpse of the bitterness beneath them as the laughs shade down to a final dying despair and the awful realisation that at the last man has only three choices: this world, the next world, or Australia.
Mr. Titley deserves a return visit to the London Theatre.’
The Salisbury Journal (UK) – by Katharine Lawley
‘Peter Finch and Stephen Fry rightly won great acclaim for their silver screen portrayals of Oscar Wilde. Finch had the witty rejoinders but not the looks, and Fry had the looks but couldn’t entirely capture the essence of the man.
Neil Titley has it all – the foppish hair, the commanding bearing, the booming voice, the cleverly constructed wit and just the right pauses before delivering the punch lines. It’s no wonder he has taken his show, which is set in Paris two years before Wilde’s death, around the world to rave reviews. …… This show is a winner.
The Malvern Gazette (UK)
A remarkable characterisation of Oscar Wilde after his social downfall, by the brilliant actor, Neil Titley, launched Malvern solo theatre festival in the candlelit ambience of the Red Lion Annexe. Titley not only captured an astonishing physical resemblance to Wilde, but his selection of anecdotes to conjure up the essence of the man – ironic, sardonic, satiric, aesthetic and pathetic – brought to his performance the elements of great tragedy.
Der Parool, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
‘Titley’s picture gives the audience a many-sided, fascinating and complete image of a rich personality…it is simple yet full of meaning.’
The Times (UK) – by Ned Chaillet
‘Titley’s evocation of Wilde is much more enjoyable than most one man shows…it offers a mordant self knowledge…a good portrait, funny and melancholic.’
Henley Standard (UK)
‘Cynical, sad and unfailingly stylish – these were perhaps the essential qualities which emerged in Neil Titley’s magnificent portrait…The characterisation is beautifully handled – the intense understatement is extraordinarily powerful.’
The Times of India
‘A connoisseur’s delight…….
‘Titley brought out Wilde’s incomparable wit and oft-neglected humanity in the performance. The audience was constantly tittering, giggling, laughing and guffawing as Titley’s Wilde threw the acid of his suave, poisonous criticism on Victorian society and his detractors.’
What’s On in London (UK) – by Michael Darvell
‘Mr. Titley has selected his material well and catches just the right tone in his delivery. Apart from the wit there is pathos too as he harks back to Wilde’s trials and the time he spent in prison. Certainly, Mr. Titley makes Oscar very good company to be in.’
Ilkley Post (UK)
‘As the witty and often hilarious figure of Oscar Wilde, Mr. Titley proved to be a big festival success’
Camden Journal (UK)
‘A razor sharp verbal assault…intricate and memorable’
The Cornishman (UK)
The Ontario Arts Scene (Canada): Life With More Cowbell
‘Introducing Mr. Wilde’ is performed in three parts. When Titley first appears onstage, it is as himself – in affable, accessible lecturer mode. Engaging and entertaining, he offers up a brief history of the show and a quick timeline overview of Wilde’s life.
Then, something truly remarkable happens. Titley transports us to 1898, to a Paris café where he shifts from himself as 2017 lecturer to Oscar Wilde, a year after he was released from his two-year prison sentence. The transformation is remarkable, both physically and vocally.
As Wilde, he regales us with thoughts and anecdotes – with razor sharp wit, charm, unapologetic irreverence, and disdain for the mediocre and disingenuous. It’s not all fun and satire, though. There is an impassioned, deeply moving account of his experience in jail; and combined with that keen observation and ability to poke fun at society, it makes for a lovely nuanced, mercurial and poignant performance.
Titley masterfully evokes the energy of Wilde; so much so, you can feel you’re sitting in the room with him.
We then return to 2017 to a short Q&A with Titley. This is a must for all Oscar Wilde fans – or even if you’re just curious about the man. Whether you know a lot or nothing about him, it’s an entertaining and informative ride. A delightful, insightful evening.’
Steve Grant, Time Out (UK)
‘Titley’s play deserves special credit for pointing up all the strands of Wilde’s life… he has also organised his material with credit, moving effortlessly from the light to the shade.’
Riviera Radio (France)
“A wonderful piece of theatre.”
South China Morning Post
‘Brilliantly captures the bygone tones of the real Wilde… Titley lovingly conjures a man exiled by a society that once lionised him.’
Financial Times (UK)
‘Titley has brought something new to the one-man show.’
Bulawayo Chronicle (Zimbabwe)
‘A masterly portrayal.’
Gay News. (UK)
‘In fifty minutes, Titley manages to convey Wilde’s utter contempt for cant and hypocrisy …he catches all the authority of Wilde with a well-paced and sensitive performance.’
The British Society (Uruguay) – from Madeleine Pool, President.
A superb production!
The Suburban Playhouse (Argentina) – from Hugo Halbricht, Director.
It was a privilege to see you bring Wilde to us at the Playhouse!
Wisbech Standard (UK)
‘An excellent portrait…so amusing that even the uninitiated would have been converted.’
The Monitor (Ethiopia)
‘Sheer joie de vivre.’
Richmond Times (UK)
‘It relies on the great man’s wit and the actor’s formidable presence …An impressive evocation.’
Irish Times (Rep. of Ireland)
‘Charming and witty.’
Eastern Daily Press (UK)
‘A cynical and witty portrayal…Titley seems to thrive on Wilde’s eloquent style of paradoxical humour.’
Channel 55, Gulf TV (Bahrain)
“A great show.”
Islington Gazette (UK)
‘Wilde said that ideal criticism should consist of unqualified approval. No doubt he would have approved of this.’
Financial Times (India) – by Kavita Nagpal
‘A hugely entertaining piece of theatre, bringing to the fore the irresistible genius of Wilde.’
Andover Gazette (UK)
‘Unfailingly compelling…a superbly structured and moving account.’
Lit Net (South Africa) – by Francois Tradoux
(With Jeroen Kranenburg at Klein Libertas Theater, Stellenbosch)
‘To encompass Wilde in 60 minutes is well-nigh impossible. And yet this text works, even when compared with its illustrious predecessors. It works because this is Wilde in his own words, and only him. The text celebrates Wilde’s iconoclasm, his unwillingness to accept cant and rhetoric, and, in a final act of defiance, his loathing of Victorian morals and the claustrophobic religious life that was its source.
This play is not “politically relevant”. It does not say anything about apartheid or poverty or Aids. It just celebrates art and wit and the importance of being honest, even if that honesty means turning every conceivable accepted wisdom upside down.’
Festival Times, Edinburgh (UK)
‘Fine and genuinely moving jail sequence.’
The Pilot, North Carolina (USA)
‘Neil Titley, in period garb, was every bit the witty, paradoxical Wilde, lampooning the social mores of his time. The audience was held in rapt attention’
Penthouse Magazine (UK)
‘It’s a marvellous show.’
The Mountain Messenger, Calif. (USA)
‘Mr. Titley’s portrayal of the tragic and comic life endeavors of Oscar Wilde was captivating and very well done. The entire evening was an experience that event goers are not likely to forget. May there be more opportunities of this caliber offered in the future!’
The Buteman (UK)
‘The play was of a quality and sophistication rarely seen on the island and was enthusiastically received by an audience starved of such thoughtful and delicate entertainment. The performance was greeted with wild applause from the assembled audience, calling the star back for three curtain calls.’
The Belize Times (Belize) – by Andrew Steinhauer
‘Wilde’s sarcastic witticisms are full of high-octane verbal gymnastics and poignantly cynical humor. In Monday’s performance Titley delivered Wilde’s lines with rapid-fire precision and loving gusto.’
The Oxford and Cambridge Club, London (UK) – from Vince O’Brien
An outstanding talk. I have heard nothing but praise for what was a fairly astonishing performance.
Ontario Arts Review (Canada) – by Michael Piscitelli
‘I found myself finding out more about Wilde in an hour and a half than any lecturer in an entire semester of school could teach. A highly intelligent piece of writing…..that I would gladly recommend.’
The Reading Salon, Toronto (Canada)
‘A smart and often cheeky introduction to the life and death of Oscar Wilde….. What Titley lacks in flamboyant dress he makes up for with deliciously dreamy story-telling and a sincerity of character that was as compelling as he was funny.’
SOME PREVIOUS VENUES
Red Sandcastle Theatre, Toronto
The Canadian-Pacific train, Manitoba
The Country Club, Birmingham.
The Country Club, Montgomery.
The Mountain Shadows Restaurant, Sierra City.
St Phillip’s Cathedral, Atlanta.
Krankovitz Literary Salon, Concord.
North Carolina Country Club, Southern Pines.
English Speaking Union, Charlotte.
The Country Club, Salisbury.
Gibbes Museum, Charleston.
Ebenezer Church, Columbia.
Loft Restaurant, Chattanooga.
Wilton House, Richmond.
The Suburban Theatre, Buenos Aires
Mexican Cultural Institute, Belize City
Image Factory, Belize City
Museum of Belize, Belize City
Anglo-Uruguayan Cultural Centre, Montevideo
Bodega Los Nadies Vineyard Estancia, Canalones
The Nogaro Casino Theatre, Punta del Estes
Ibex Hotel, Addis Ababa
Bulawayo Theatre, Bulawayo.
New Club, Harare.
Alliance Francaise Theatre, Harare.
Diplomat Hotel, Manama.
Roman Ampitheatre, Jerash
Fringe Club, Central. Festival.
South Island School, Repulse Bay.
Sharma residence, Gurgaon
Habitat Centre, Delhi
The Habitat Centre, Delhi
The Vidhya Niketan School, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
The Epicenter Theatre, Gurgaon, Hariyana
Indore University, Madhya Pradesh
The Vault Theatre, Antibes, Cotes D’Azur.
American School, Nice, Cotes D’Azur.
Camp Redon, Belves, Dordogne Valley.
The C.I.V, Sophia Antipolis, Cotes D’Azur.
Schiller Oper, Hamburg.
Gallerie 88, Hamburg.
The Dubliner Tavern, Reykjavik.
EU Commission, Ispra, Lake Maggiore
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague.
Belfort Hotel, Amsterdam.
Huize Kortonjo, Eindhoven.
Broedergemeente, Ziest, Utrecht.
De Vrijheidskerk, Alkmaar.
McGinley’s Bar, Letterkenny.
Zack’s Bar, Donegal Town.
Matt Molloy’s Bar, Westport.
Gaughan’s Bar, Ballina.
Taylor’s Bar, Galway City.
Bay Café, Kilronan, Inishmore.
John B. Keane’s Bar, Listowel.
McCarthy’s Bar, Dingle.
Kingdom Bar, Killorglin.
Sean Og Bar, Skibbereen.
Pine Lodge Bar, Crosshaven.
Bean A Leanna Bar, Dungarvan.
T and H Doolan’s Bar, Waterford City.
Thomas Moore Bar, Wexford.
The Tavern Bar, Enniscorthy.
Loch Garman Arms Bar, Gorey.
Old Court Inn, Wicklow Town.
Lynham’s Bar, Glendalough.
McGovern’s Bar, Moyvally.
The Duke Bar, Dublin City
The Focus Theatre, Dublin City.
Edinburgh Festival (3 seasons).
The Arts Centre, Aberdeen.
The Corn Exchange, Biggar, Strathclyde.
The Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine, Strathclyde.
Crawford Arts Centre, University of St Andrews, Fife.
Port Royal Hotel, Isle of Bute.
The Kames Hotel, Tighnabruaich, Argyll.
Ty Isaf Theatre, Llandeilo, Dyfed.
The Leisure Centre, Nantyglo, Gwent.
Normal College, Bangor, Gwynedd.
Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech, Gwynedd.
The Festival, Presteigne, Powys.
The Victorian Festival, Albert Hall, Llandrindod Wells, Powys.
The Kings Head Theatre Club, Islington.
The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond.
Warehouse Theatre, Croydon.
Vibe Bar, Brick Lane, East End.
Oscar Wilde Society, Golden Lion Tavern, St James.
Keats House, Hampstead.
Irish Club, Eaton Square, Chelsea.
Irish Centre, Camden Town.
Minogues Bar, Islington.
Lantern Theatre, Hackney.
Café Theatre, Leicester Square, West End.
Theatrespace, The Strand, West End.
Chelsea Arts Club.
Novelli’s Restaurant, Clerkenwell.
English Speaking Union, Dartmouth House, Mayfair.
The Shaw Society, Conway Hall.
Queen Mary College, London University, Mile End
Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead.
Fleet Centre, Hampstead.
Old Bull Gallery, Barnet.
Falcon Inn Theatre, Camden Town.
Filthy McNasty’s Whiskey Bar, Islington.
Dept. of Employment Club, Westminster.
Civil Service Club, Westminster.
Just St James restaurant, Mayfair
Cadogan Hotel, Chelsea
St Bride’s Institute, City of London
The Stag Pub, Hampstead
National Liberal Club, Whitehall
Wandsworth Prison Museum
Thorney Island Soc, University Women’s Club, Mayfair
Third Age University, Hampstead
Third Age University, St Bride’s Institute, City of London
Oxford and Cambridge Club, Pall Mall
Keats Library, Hampstead
The Mitre Tavern, Lancaster Gate
Old Town Hall Centre, Hemel Hempstead.
Swan Inn, Windsor Festival
Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell.
Village Hall, Marlow.
Downing College, Cambridge.
Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Angles Theatre, Wisbech.
Brookside Arts Centre, Huntingdon.
Medical Society, District Hospital, Peterborough
Arts Centre, Penzance.
Coastguards Hotel, Mousehole.
Admiral Benbow Restaurant, Penzance
Arts Centre, Falmouth
Library Theatre, Wigton.
Palace Hotel, Buxton, Derbyshire.
Sidmouth Folk Festival.
Dartington Hall, Totnes.
Verbeer Manor, Cullompton.
Arts Centre, Bideford.
Black Bear Hotel, Wareham.
Arts Centre, Darlington.
The Wellington, Wolverston
Village Hall, Morden
Ceddesfeld Hall, Sedgefield
Towngate Theatre, Basildon.
Hermitage Theatre, Brentwood.
The Red Lion, Manningtree
Shaftesbury Theatre, Cheltenham.
Cricklade Theatre, Andover.
Three Choirs Festival, Booth Hall, Hereford
Cathedral School, Hereford
The Library, Kington
Library Theatre, Leighton Buzzard.
Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St. Lawrence.
The Playhouse, Harlow.
ISLE OF MAN
Bride Hall, Point of Ayre.
Stone Green Hall, Ashford.
Metropole Arts Centre, Folkestone.
Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne.
The Playhouse, Preston.
White Bull Hotel, Ribchester
Assembly Rooms, Barton-on-Humber
Whitgift Film Theatre, Grimsby
University of Manchester.
Academy of Arts, Liverpool.
Worcester College, Oxford.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
The Kenton Theatre, Henley-on Thames.
Chez Skinner Club, Henley-on-Thames.
Jude the Obscure Tavern, Oxford.
The Cricket Club, Cumnor
Quay Theatre, Sudbury.
University of Surrey, Guildford.
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.
Penthouse Magazine, Lewes.
University of Sussex, Brighton.
Jenny Lind Hotel, Hastings.
Ifield Barn Theatre, Crawley.
Brighton University Gallery.
Firle Place, Lewes
Springfield School, Jarrow.
Bolden School, Bolden Colliery.
Harton School, South Shields.
St. Joseph’s School, Hebburn.
Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon.
Shakespeare Hotel, Stratford-on-Avon. (5 seasons).
Town Hall, Stratford-on-Avon.
Adult Education Centre, Shipston-on-Stour.
Lord Leycester Great Hall, Warwick
Lecture Hall, Mere
Fringe Club, Malvern Festival.
Red Lion Inn, Malvern. (2 seasons).
Talbot Hotel, Knightwick
City Varieties Theatre, Leeds.
Art Gallery, Leeds.