In Extremis / De Profundis - 2000
WRITTEN: by Neil Bartlett / by Oscar Wilde, edited by Merlin Holland
PRODUCER: Royal National Theatre
STARRING:Corine Redgrave as 'Wilde', with Sheila Hancock.
STORY: IN EXTREMIS: On the night of 24th March 1895, Mrs Robinson, a society palm reader, agreed to see Oscar Wilde in her London flat. Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, 'Bosie', was urging him to sue the Marquis of Queensberry (Bosie's Father) for criminal libel. But Wilde's friends, wary of queensberry's power, were warning him to leave town. 'In Extremis' reveals the strange turmoil of that night, as a man at the height of his fame turns to a complete stranger for advice about a potentially life-changing decision. // DE PROFUNDIS: Two years later , towards the end of his sentence in Reading Gaol, Wilde was agonising over the lack of contact with Bosie. In desperation, he started to write him a letter. It is perhaps the greatest love letter ever written. Filled with a torrent of accusation, recrimination and passion, Wilde eventually reached an extraordinary state of understanding and reconciliation.
A round up of some of the popular press reviews by Darren Dalglish
DOMINIC CAVENDISH for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "This double-bill on the National's Cottesloe stage - a new play by Neil Bartlett and a monologue woven from De Profundis by Merlin Holland, both starring Corin Redgrave as the king of bons mots - is an elegant, unsentimental affair." SUSANNAH CLAPP for the OBSERVER says, " Redgrave's performance in De Profundis .....is impressive, though his Irish cadences see-saw repetitively." JOHN THAXTER for THE STAGE says, "The Play ( In Extremis) sits heavily on Redgrave's shoulders, but Sheila Hancock...gives a many-layered portrayal of a woman teasingly recalling this encounter from beyond the grave." MADELEINE NORTH for TIME OUT says, "This is an imaginative pairing, offering an intimacy with Wilde only a dramatisation of this kind could achieve."