Review by Michael Piscitelli
Oscar Wilde has always been one of my favourite playwrights, and I love learning more about his, tragically short, life. A wordsmith with a silver tongue as sharp as a finely-honed sword of legend, Wilde’s wit would winnow any wanton or worrisome weight the world over. Alliteration aside, I found myself finding out more about Wilde in the hour and a half than any lecturer would hold my attention would in an entire semester of school ever did.
Introducing Mr. Wilde is a brief and somewhat bare-bones sum up of the life Oscar Wilde led from birth in the mid 1850’s to his death in France at the turn of the century.
It starts out rather casually as a sort of mini lecture about the major events of Wilde’s life. I use the term lecture rather loosely, as it was laden with quips that are evocative of Wilde’s own prose. A highly intelligent piece of writing that (unfortunately for myself), calls out Wilde’s own opinion on critics. Therefore, I am left feeling somewhat unnecessary, but must press on. We’re later treated to an experience of what Oscar Wilde might have been like had someone have come across him in a French café in Paris, regaling his dining companion his opinions and thoughts he might have had about the world and its inhabitants.
Performer, writer, and touring world traveller, Neil Titley, has been performing this piece of theatre since it’s early days in the critically acclaimed Edinburgh Festival. He has played the part of Oscar Wilde himself in the television show ‘Indecent Acts’ and has appeared in numerous shows across the UK.
The Wilde Festival is an initiative taken on by and created by the Red Sandcastle Theatre and Rosemary Doyle, the artistic director of the Wilde Festival. Their mandate is to explore the world through the lens of Oscar Wilde. They intend to celebrate wit, beauty, bilingualism, LTGBQ+ rights and activism, and to explore the effects of the criminal justice system. Shaw and Shakespeare have their own festivals in southern Ontario, so to shall the man of wild wit. The Wilde Festival will be continuing throughout the year, so be sure to check back for more later on in the coming months.
A highly entertaining show that I would gladly recommend as a light bit of evening entertainment to get one’s mind exercising and wit sharpened. Introducing Mr. Wilde will be playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre as a limited engagement until January 15th.