An adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic short story, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, comes to the Compass Theatre next week courtesy of Ruislip Dramatic Society. SIBA MATTI speaks to leading man David Iggulden to hear more about the show
THE words that flowed from the pen of Oscar Wilde have been transformed into stage, television and film productions - and even an opera. Ruislip Dramatic Society (RDS) has already achieved success with productions of The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere's Fan.
Now, it has its sights set on recreating one of Wilde's best-loved works - Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, part of a series of short stories penned and published in 1891.
But RDS vice-president, David Iggulden, who will take the title role, is playing it coy: "I don't want to give away too many spoilers but Lord Arthur is due to be married to his beautiful wife, Sybil, and it's all going to plan until her mother employs a palm reader to see if he is going to make her a good husband.
"The palm reader predicts he is to commit a murder and, being a good sort of chap, Arthur tries to make the kill before his marriage, to avoid his wife becoming his victim.
"We are always looking for interesting new plays which would be good fun from an acting perspective, and after our previous Oscar Wilde productions were so well received, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime seemed like the natural choice for our next show."
Founded in 1924, RDS performs two shows every year at Compass Theatre in Ickenham, with its 30 members juggling full-time jobs with learning lines and rehearsing.
David, 30, works as an electronic resources manager in the library at Kew Gardens.
"We always take pride in our productions and have been rehearsing since September, which has been quite intense and a bit of a balancing act, particularly as my role has more than 70 pages of lines to remember!" he says.
"We have focused a lot of our energies on finding lavish period costumes - some characters have multiple costume changes - and the set design, making the show a real feast for the eyes.
"As well as being visually appealing, the show also has some wonderful one-liners, demonstrating Wilde's incredible writing style.
"Although his original story is quite dark, the adaptation, by Constance Cox, has a lot of humour and isn't sinister at all, in spite of the mention of murder.
"Despite being set in Victorian high society, it has a lot of relevance to modern-day life, particularly in terms of love and marriage, plus a Hollywood contemporary adaptation of the story is due to be released in cinemas later this year.
"I think it could be one of our favourite productions to date, for both us as actors and our audiences."
David, who this year is celebrating his 10th anniversary as an RDS member, is keen to encourage new members to sign up and get involved in what he describes as 'a wonderful hobby'.
He adds: "It is exactly 10 years since I first trod the boards with RDS, as a servant, before working my way up to playing a number of lead roles.
"It really is a wonderful hobby to have and even if you don't like the idea of being on stage, there are so many other ways to get involved and plenty of jobs to be done behind the scenes.
"This is the first production for a couple of our new members, including Lindsey Little, who plays Sybil, and Gina Acuna, who plays Nelly the maid, and we are always looking for new blood and fresh ideas.
"There are no specific requirements to sign up; obviously a background in drama is great, but we just want people who genuinely want to be a part of the society.
"We will be back at the Compass next year, and, although we are as yet unsure what production we will be doing, it could well be another Oscar Wilde - and hopefully we will be able to introduce a few more new members, too."
For further information about RDS, visit www.ruislipdramatic.org or email email@example.com * Lord Arthur Savile's Crime runs from November 24 to 27 at 7.45pm at Compass Theatre, Glebe Avenue, Ickenham, UB10 8PD.
Tickets cost £10, or £9 for concessions on Wednesday and Thursday only. Call the box office on 01895 673 200 or see www.compasstheatre.co.uk.