Gray matter

Russell Tovey, Stephen Fry feature in social media-themed Picture of Dorian Gray

Russell Tovey at GQ Men of the Year Awards 2019
Russell Tovey at GQ Men of the Year Awards 2019 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Russell Tovey (Looking, Quantico), Stephen Fry (It’s A Sin) and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) are among the confirmed cast of a new, digital production of the Oscar Wilde classic, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Taking the title role will be actor Fionn Whitehead, who appeared in the movie Dunkirk and Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. The cast will be completed with Alfred Enoch (Harry Potter, How To Get Away With Murder) and Emma McDonald.

Dorian Gray cast
L-R: Alfred Enoch, Joanna Lumley, Fionn Whitehead (Photo: Pip), Russell Tovey (Photo: Jason Dimmock), Emma McDonald and Stephen Fry (Photo: Claire Newman Williams)

Wilde’s 1890 novel was centered around a man who makes a Faustian pact to remain ever youthful and beautiful: despite leading a life of increasing excess and corruption.

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The story has reached the big screen on several occasions, most recently a 2009 version with Ben Barnes and Colin Firth.

Stephen Fry, a big fan of Oscar Wilde, played the Irish writer in the 1997 movie, Wilde.

This new, online version is a co-production between the UK-based Barn Theatre, Lawrence Batley Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre, Oxford Playhouse and Theatr Clwyd. At the moment, all theatres in the UK are closed and most have been shuttered since last March.

This online production reimagines the story for modern times, with Gray a smartphone-obsessed influencer.

“In a profile pic-obsessed, filter-fixated world where online and reality blur, influencer Dorian Gray makes a deal. For his social star never to fade. For the perfect self he broadcasts to the world to always remain. But as his mental health starts to decline, as corruption and murderous depravity start to creep into his world, the true and horrific cost of his deal will soon need to be met.”

Related: Russell Tovey says his dad wanted to cure his gayness with hormones

Director Tamara Harvey said in a statement, “When trying to tell stories in Covid times, with very few resources and almost no time, the thing you need from your cast more even than talent is a spirit of collaboration, combined with patience, kindness and large doses of humour. Every member of our cast for Dorian Gray brought that and more.”

The online production will stream March 16-31, and tickets are now available internationally (£12/$17) for screenings. Full details here.