Looking for a fun time, high energy performances, catchy music and something that might have an intriguing concept, but you’re not really invested in what it is? Then check out ‘OSCAR at the Crown’ and enjoy the party!
There is plenty to dance along to, laugh along with and yes, there is some depth here to ponder should you so wish. Philosophically, this show touches on identity, presentation, life choices and truthful expression, with a lens of pop culture and party fever, culminating in a beautiful way of questioning its central icon.
Oscar Wilde is suitably a flamboyant figure, full of wit and charm, but what we learn of him is given in potted history, and the show could easily be built on any number of iconic / celebrity figures who have met with tragedy after adulation. There is also a lot regarding Wilde that is lost to sound problems. In fact, the sound balance – and occasionally the articulation – are such that some dialogue and many lyrics in the very attractively packaged songs become garbled (though a gorgeous ballad also stands out for its audibility). This problem obscured the framing concept of the show at the start, and a song about reality tv, entertaining as it was, seemed strangely out of the blue.
Things do become clearer: we are in the Crown nightclub, abandoned and hidden, now a secret refuge for outcasts from a fascist society whose dangerous presence is well evoked throughout the event. Being true to oneself leads to the loss of basic resources for survival, but in this new life the outcasts have created, they make the most of pleasure and expression by performing – nightly – their charismatic leader’s show about Oscar Wilde. Into this seemingly chaotic / free yet actually ordered / imposed life there suddenly appears a new outcast and tonight might just turn out rather differently from the usual revels.
The Neon Coven performers deliciously and impressively work the mostly standing crowd and deliver exciting entertainment. There are great vocal and dance skills on display and those playing the central characters of Wilde (show creator Mark Mauriello), his lover ‘Bosie’ and his wife, Constance Lloyd, easily command space and attention. The music and choreography of Andrew Barret Cox deserves to be popular and drives the show, while direction by Shira Milikowsky makes sure the whole piece dynamically surrounds and includes the audience.
So: looking for a party with flair, fun and some story? Get along to ‘OSCAR at the Crown’: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/oscar-at-the-crown
Final Show: 27th August (not on 16th, 23rd)
Reviewer: Danielle Farrow
Reviewed: 15th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: