Taylor McGraa finds herself in the captivating world of Dorian Gray as she spends an evening at The Alchemic Order’s immersive theatre experience.
Founded just one year ago by the fabulously talented Samuel Orange, The Alchemic Order are an art collective who are currently offering a Dorian Gray experience like no other.
In love with all things Wilde, Orange desired to perform the impossible: adapt Wilde’s only novel into a new and innovative theatrical restoration. Admittedly, this was not achieved with smooth sailing. During an after-show chat, Samuel disclosed to me that he found himself at points in his writing process thinking, ‘it simply can’t be done!’ But who can blame him? It is only understandable to question why Oscar Wilde chose to write his fascinating tale of Dorian Gray in the form of a novel, after writing so many excellent plays. Was the story just never meant to be told through script? Was the splendor and life of Dorian Gray unable to be captured through anything but prose? Well guess what? Samuel did it. He not only adapted the novel into a new series of beautiful dialogue and careful stage directions, but truly brought it to life.
The Alchemic Order’s restoration of Wilde’s only novel will sweep you away from the streets of South East London and into a whole other world; it is honestly enchanting. When you go to the performance, you have to remember that this is no ordinary trip to the theatre; in fact, you are not even going to a theatre. Instead, you going to a huge Georgian home, which dates as far back as 1773. An actual home – Samuel Orange’s home, where he lives, breathes, acts, and has transformed into the alluring world of Dorian Gray, just for you.
As the gorgeous, but daunting building loomed over us, my boyfriend and I had no clue what to expect. We were the only ones there, and hung around the house gates like teenagers on a shop corner, awkward, not quite knowing what to do next. The front door creaked ajar, and a charming Mrs. Leaf, who, to my pleasant surprise, was kitted out head to toe in the typical Victorian maidservant attire, greeted us. She informed us that ‘Mr. Dorian’s House will be open to guests shortly’.
‘Shit’, I whispered, ‘wasn’t expecting that’. I was frightened, but really bloody excited too.
After a short while we were ushered into the home and presented with red wine in cold, old, metal cups. Bliss. My boyfriend and I slouched into two leather wingback chairs, waiting for the other guests. It was a nice chance to take in the charm of this utterly gorgeous house. Heaps of fabric draped from the ceiling, the sound of a piano poured in from the left corner of the room, and the most gorgeous smoky cat, who I later learned was named Isaora, slipped her tail between our legs. You could tell that each candle, rug and ornament had been hand picked to set a very specific mood. Again, bliss.
As soon as the rest of the guests arrived we were led into Mr. Gray’s bedroom, (definitely as saucy as it sounds), and the play began. However, I will say that although the play only started at this point, the performance definitely started when Mrs. Leaf greeted us at the door.
Two hours of dramatic commotion, terror, laughter, and sexual tension later, I was utterly blown away. I cannot disclose too much information about the performance, because trust me, I will ruin it. But, I can tell you this; you can’t imagine the surprises that The Alchemic Order have in store for you. Samuel and his team have worked together to build a beautiful world with their flowering minds, and with an intimate audience of twenty five guests maximum upon each performance, it really feels like you have witnessed something special.
As house servants Victor and Mrs. Leaf interact with you, you feel absorbed within Dorian’s world. However, when the actors unfold their turmoil before you, lying below your feet like you aren’t there at all, you can’t help but feel a very rare and strange ‘within-yet-without’ exposure to the characters; unlike any other social experience that you will face in your daily routine. There is a real sense of exclusivity, intimacy and mystery about this performance that makes is a truly unique experience, and I urge you all to take part in it.
Student rates are as follows:
Wednesday & Thursday – £27.50
Friday and Saturdays – £37.50 [includes complimentary drink on arrival and exclusive Meet The Cast after the show]
For Goldsmiths students – email [email protected] for an exclusive code to receive 50% off a standard weekend ticket!
Halloween party specials – 31st October & Sunday 1st November
Gothic Victorian dress code or dress as a character from the novel.
Show/party tickets or single party tickets available to buy separately.
Party with the cast and absinth punch, steaming cocktails, electro-disco-funk in the Opium Den until the early hours, Sibyl Vane’s fire dancing, trick, games, and other frolics
Christmas shows – 2nd-23rd December
Book your tickets here: