We’ve heard Alexander Vlahos’ interpretation of Dorian Gray in the most recent Bernice Summerfield box set from Big Finish, but this opening salvo in the proper series returns him nearer to his accustomed time and place as the set up for this interesting spin-off is explained. Dorian is a real person, about whom Wilde wrote a novel; minor details were changed, but to all intents and purposes, it was a work of non-fiction.
David Llewellyn gives Vlahos ample opportunity to show the different facets of Dorian’s character – he can be hedonistic, inquisitive, and full of a righteous anger. Director Scott Handcock weaves a soundscape around what could be a very talky half-hour that creates the atmospheres of the various places in which it’s set.
But it’s the confrontation – because that’s what it becomes at times – between Steffan Rhodri’s Wilde and Gray that is at the heart of this story, overshadowing the horror element. So much is left unsaid between the two, about lost and wasted potential, and regrets at the ways of the world that it feels, in a good way, as if you’ve been listening to something much longer.
Verdict: A good, effective start. 7/10