Masque theatre is hosting Cape Town Theatre Company’s A Picture of Dorian Gray. “A Picture of Dorian Gray, not ‘The’ Picture—one person’s vision only” Playwright and director, Liz Roodt insists.

It is the ‘60s, Dorian is a celebrity with his own band, ‘Dorian and the Greys’. His music manager and half-uncle, Bernard Grosman, appears at first to be a supportive father-figure.  However, he is more interested in manipulating Dorian for profit and turns him towards sex, drugs and rock & roll in the decadent ‘70s and ‘80s. He’s on the move to the top and will not tolerate any interference in his plans. Dorian’s girlfriend, Piper and his best friend, Martine are flies in Bernard’s ointment. They don’t want Dorian to be lead down Bernard’s evil path.  But, true to Oscar Wilde’s original novel, Dorian’s life (and death) are beset with tragedy. This is Liz Roodt’s take on the Irish writer’s tale.

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The novel originally published in 1980 has been a subject of both film and stage adaptations over the years; including the 1945 version that won recently deceased American actress, Angela Lansbury an Oscar nomination.

The modern reimagined account of Dorian Gray, as he grapples with the ever-tipping scale of morality and his painstakingly fleeting mortality features 4 musical performances created by live musicians and a cast of 11 talented performers led by Jan Combrink as Dorian Gray.

Cape Town Theatre Company’s A Picture of Dorian Gray adapted and directed by Liz Roodt (Photos by Martin Kluge and Graphic design by Willie Blignaut)

“There are beautiful moments, touching moments and there is also a reality check for most. Dorian Gray is a slice of life that most people can relate to. It shows that you should never take those for granted who value their time with you the most. Dorian is so caught up with his own pleasures and Vanity that he undermines those closest to him, which ultimately causes his downfall.” Jan Combrink says of his experience with the play.

The story is retold across the 60s, 70s and 80s through the lens of a new gritty rock ‘n roll aesthetic. “All I can remember about choosing the story of Dorian Gray is that it just floated into view one day. I remember thinking that—with the correct adaptation— it could be just the play that the Masque stage needed: one that is both classic and contemporary. In the absence of a suitable stage script, I wrote my own.” Roodt says about the inspiration for this new adaptation.

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Roodt is grateful for Cape Town Theatre Company for “providing a platform for us to play again”, and the cast, crew and production team that have been “spectacularly skilled and competent.” She also credits Sheldon Cross for his invaluable input in the process of creating this adaptation.


Cape Town Theatre Company’s A Picture of Dorian Gray written and directed by Liz Roodt will run from 20-29 October, 2022 at The Masque Theatre in Muizenberg. The show is not suitable for persons under the age of 16. For tickets go to A Picture of Dorian Gray.


This article was originally published by The African Theatre Magazine on October 22, 2022, and has been reposted with permission. To read the original article, click here.

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This post was written by The African Theatre Magazine.

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