Fuzzy kiss
New York | 2h 30m | Already closed

The Judas Kiss

From 37 critic and 89 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing, Slow, Great writing

About the show

BAM presents David Hare's multidimensional study of esteemed 19th-century playwright Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett), who quickly went from success to exile. More…

In the spring of 1895, Oscar Wilde was larger than life. His masterpiece, 'The Importance of Being Earnest,' was a hit in the West End and he was the toast of London. Yet by summer he was arrested for gross indecency and embarking on an ill-fated trial. Wilde’s adoration for Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas was his downfall.

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"Rupert Everett has found the role of his career...Neil Armfield’s staging has given Hare’s play the heft of real tragedy...Everett handles the timing and the wit with ease, and he’s physically right as well...Everett inhabits the contradictions, the wit, the passion and the foolishness, in a multifaceted, riveting performance...Perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch for Hare to cast Wilde as a Christ figure, but it’s not hammered at heavily." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Everett could hardly be better in a role he seems to have grown himself toward...In the process the play, too, grows toward the brilliance of its subject...The play’s flaw is too essential to be repaired so Armfield has had the good sense to highlight it instead. As Bosie, Charlie Rowe does nothing (except look good) to mitigate the character’s awfulness...Importantly, this production is also much more beautiful than the earlier one." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“It’s a wonderfully performed and written piece, even if it was just this one act, but act two takes us deeper into the dark and complicated relationship of Bosie and Wilde...Everett inhabits the part as if it were tailor-made for him...Directed impeccably by Neil Armfield, with the help of Hare’s beautiful text...The final kiss goodbye leaves us all watching and waiting for a witty and sly comment from Wilde, and what we get is something more powerful: a still and silent all-knowing stare.” Full Review


"Do people – and plays – deserve a second chance? These thoughts ran rapidly through my mind while watching Armfield’s often stunning production of David Hare’s 'The Judas Kiss'…Everett captures Wilde’s wit, pride, self-delusion and self-destruction magnificently, lending both heft and pathos to Hare’s work…His actions place him as somewhere between a martyr and a fool, and 'The Judas Kiss' somewhere between Greek tragedy and tragicomedy." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“Engrossingly staged by director Neil Armfield with a superb performance as Oscar Wilde by Rupert Everett...One comes away with admiration for Everett’s performance and a fresh view of the tragedy of what Wilde had to endure in the face of the vicious prejudice of his time, and the devastating complications it brought to his life and relationships.” Full Review

The Wrap

"Critics can now see 'The Judas Kiss' for what it always has been: one of the great plays of the late 20th century...Everett doesn’t make all the difference, which is not to say his performance is anything short of a revelation...As expected, Everett is great at delivering bon mots and epigrams. A lesser playwright would have filled the play with Wilde’s own words...What is totally unexpected in Everett’s portrayal is a heavy lugubriousness that somehow never bogs down the humor." Full Review


“With impressive dexterity, Hare has written dialogue for Wilde that measures up to the man’s legendary wit. For his part, Everett achieves the elusive theatrical magic of a larger-than-life yet utterly believable performance. Indeed the whole action bubbles in a heady broth of elevated naturalism, a recipe Hare balances so masterfully...A few cheap lapses mar the script here...All in all, we’re lucky that Armfield and the Chichester Festival Theatre have crafted this revival.” Full Review

The Knockturnal

"Everett is so downright wonderful, with a witty delivery that feels utterly authentic, that it is impossible for even a moment to doubt that he is the living incarnation of Wilde himself...Hare’s writing and Armfield’s direction keep the dramatic tension high, but also maintain enough comic moments and witticisms to make the heartbreaking moments even more biting." Full Review


"The elegantly faded and crumbled interior of BAM's Harvey Theatre is a most appropriate venue…As written, and particularly as performed by a captivating Rupert Everett, the central character becomes rather elegantly faded and crumbled himself…While Everett masterfully delivers the sardonic Wilde wit that Hare sprinkles into the proceedings, there's a tender wistfulness about him in director Neil Armfield's melancholy production." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Everett delivers a performance that deserves to become legendary...The play is admittedly a bit slow and talky...Still, there are many moving moments...The witticisms are, not surprisingly, delivered with exquisite comic timing by Everett. But his performance goes much deeper. Wearing a fat suit and a wig, the dashing actor is virtually unrecognizable in the role, but the weight of his portrayal is as emotional as it is physical." Full Review

New York Daily News

"The first act in David Hare’s 1998 vivid but verbose play takes place right before Wilde is imprisoned for his out-and-loud sexuality. The second unfolds after his release from the clink and his handsome blue-blood lover cavalierly betrays him. Neil Armfield’s staging comes with a fine performances by Everett and company, moody atmosphere and exposed skin, especially from a minor character with a major physique." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Wilde is played to perfection by Rupert Everett, who channels the legendary writer at every turn—his wit, charm, exasperating ways and inexplicable Bosie obsession. His sharp, rueful performance alone is worth the price of admission...Hare tries to reconcile Wilde’s public and private selves, to determine why he participates in his own downfall...'The Judas Kiss' isn’t so much a dramatic effort as a compelling examination into the complexities and contradictions of Wilde." Full Review


“‘The Judas Kiss’ is not a great play, not even one of Hare's best. But now it can be considered a very good play, and one well worth seeing. Much of the credit must go to Everett who embodies Wilde in the thoroughly satisfying and effective way we wish every performance could….Armfield, the director, must share in that credit. There is unquestionably much to ponder here, but it is no longer ponderous.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Some of the problems that plagued the initial run are still present. Wilde’s passivity has a way of dulling dramatic tension...But there’s pleasure and substance to be found here, too. Many of the quips sound a lot like Wilde — in part, because many are from Wilde. Others don’t, yet they’re amusing all the same. And for all Wilde’s inactivity, the play does ultimately present his downfall as a kind of tragic inevitability." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Rupert Everett’s performance is superb, not to be missed, though a little rushed in the first act…Bosie played by Charlie Rowe, is channeling the spirit of his character, excellent in his portrayal of this well-spoken and egotistic young man…For the most part, David Hare has done a wonderful job portraying these historic figures in 'The Judas Kiss,' while director Neil Armfield has fleshed out their frailties and strengths successfully." Full Review


"The problem with the play--which was also true in its Broadway production in 1998 which starred Liam Neeson (who was not terribly convincing)--is that it is extremely static. Also we know how things turned out so there is no suspense as to the outcome." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Everett’s performance is a creative impersonation of breathtaking authority...One of the failings of 'The Judas Kiss' is that Mr. Hare, much to my surprise, has idealized Wilde’s personality...Even more disappointing are the one-note performances of the actors cast in the key supporting roles...I wouldn’t have wanted to miss seeing Mr. Everett, nor should you, but be forewarned that you’re more than likely to go home feeling let down.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Few actors could be better suited to play Wilde than Everett, who has devoted himself to the role in both look and temperament...The banter between Wilde and Bosie is lost in the latter’s one-dimensional delivery, which was shouty and unmeasured. Rather than a battle of wits, the dialog between the two men is one-sided...Hare’s writing is terrific here and throughout, and so evocative of Wilde. But director Neil Armfield doesn’t let the words penetrate and so much of the play is lost." Full Review

AM New York

"Wearing a fat suit, Everett delivers a wonderfully detailed and nuanced performance that captures Wilde’s flamboyance, wit and generosity but also stresses his vulnerabilities...Unfortunately, Neil Armfield’s spare and uneven production does not make a strong case for the play...The first act is packed with drama, but the second act is downbeat and static. Other than Wilde, the characters are painted thin, especially the detestable Bosie." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A vast improvement over the 1998 Broadway engagement, if only because Rupert Everett is so much better than Liam Neeson as Wilde...But two full acts of dramatic stasis prove to be too much; Wilde's passivity in the face of such adversity might provide rich material for drama, but Hare seems only interested in sanctifying it…It's a strange experience to have one of English literature's great wits treated with so much reverence and so little wit." Full Review

The New York Times

"How do you create dynamic drama with a hero who refuses to move? Armfield’s luxurious revival doesn’t solve that problem...This production artfully illuminates the greatest, most operatic contradiction that Mr. Hare’s Oscar embodies. That’s love as a force both sacred and profane...The second biggest problem with 'Judas': As written — and as played — Bosie isn’t worthy of anyone’s love...Which means 'The Judas Kiss' is without friction as well as without motion." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"Everett delivers a convincing portrayal of Wilde during his public disgrace that captures the author’s endearing combination of wit, vanity, kindness and self-destructiveness. Alas, there’s not much else to compliment here. Under Armfield’s brisk direction, the other actors all do a decent job. But they are trapped by Hare’s cartoonish text, which turns a complex and fascinating story into a crude morality play." Full Review


"Though Mr. Everett is controlled enough to translate Wilde’s puckish humor into bitterness, he cannot rehabilitate a script that is tonally inappropriate and employs moralizing to mask emotional vacancy. Mr. Hare wrote in an introduction to 'The Judas Kiss' that 'the true subject of my play is not Wilde, but love; not Bosie, but betrayal.' When the kiss finally does come, I found no evidence of either." Full Review


"We know about Wilde's tragic end, but we have a hard time believing that he took it so tragically the whole time. In so thoroughly canonizing Wilde, Hare and Armfield rob him of that which makes him so special: His irreverent wit and propensity to treat all serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality. Worse, it gives Wilde no real emotional journey, rendering this drama not just depressing, but sleepy." Full Review

New York Post

"Rupert Everett, barely recognizable in a padded suit and prosthetic makeup, plays Oscar Wilde in the late 1890s, when the writer was tried for 'gross indecency' for his affair with Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas...There’s delicious indecency from actor Tom Colley, who spends 20 minutes reclining in the nude. That, unfortunately, is the only rise David Hare’s gabby drama provokes." Full Review

Original, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Entertaining

See it if You love history

Don't see it if You don't like gays

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if You enjoy an evening of solid acting and thought provoking theatre

Don't see it if Offended by on stage nudity

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You appreciate issues relating to LGBT, Oscar Wilde, great acting, great drama with humor balancing the performance beautifully.

Don't see it if You are looking for lots of action, bigger than life setting, simple dialogue.

Great acting, Great staging

See it if you like a great production

Don't see it if see it

Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing, Great staging

See it if like me, you think even the least talented Brit actor can turn cartwheels over any American any day. Everett is brilliant. Script is great.

Don't see it if You have trouble hearing or don't like to have to strain to catch every line. This play would really be best in a smaller theater.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you would enjoy a portrayal of a complex, intelligent writer as tries to reconcile reason and passion.

Don't see it if you find history plays boring and Oscar Wilde uninteresting.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Romantic

See it if you are interested in the life of Oscar Wilde, appreciate great acting, and enjoy original stories

Don't see it if you are homophobic

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You are intrigued about Mr. Wilde's secret affairs and self-destructive persona. Mr. Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde is perfection.

Don't see it if You are not interested in a play that describes love and misfortune between two men.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Riveting, Great writing

See it if You are outraged about archaic views about homosexuality. To see Rupert Everett become Oacar Wilde. Have been betrayed. Trust too much.

Don't see it if You have archaic views. Like living in the closet Throw your "friends" under the bus. Have no scruples and too much ego.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like witty dialogue and stellar acting.

Don't see it if you know the story and not interested in a nuanced shading.

Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing

See it if You're looking for top notch acting, in a well written play that's smart and serious but still manages to make you laugh.

Don't see it if You're not a fan of Oscar Wilde. Rupert Everett makes you feel like you're watching Wilde himself.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if brilliant performances in a true story of love, betrayal, and honesty are what you enjoy in the theatre. Rupert Everett is not to be missed

Don't see it if didactic plays bore you or if you're easily offended by nudity on stage.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Resonant

See it if This a brilliant production of the excellent David Hare play. Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde is superb as is the whole cast.

Don't see it if you're squeamish or uncomfortable with male nudity and intimate dialogue. Or, perhaps, you're having trouble getting a good seat. Try+++.

Exquisite, Witty, Memorable, Brillant

See it if You enjoyed tortured tales - this a painful and true story

Don't see it if If plays about artists irritate you or if seemingly illogical choices drive you nutty

Also The advertisements are correct – Everett really was destined to play W... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Resonant

See it if Demonstrating the pitfalls of love and what the heart wants that common sense would warn against. Rupert Everett is a quality actor 100%!

Don't see it if Gay themed plays are not your cup of tea.

Edgy, Profound, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you enjoy a great fictional biography of a great writer/playwright​/poet

Don't see it if you dislike intergenerational gay relationship or will be offended by frontal nudity on stage

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You want great writing & acting. You're familiar w/Oscar Wilde: it's only 1 piece of the story. You're comfortable w/nudity on stage.

Don't see it if You don't know about Oscar Wilde. You're uncomfortable w/nudity on stage. You don't want a drama.

Great acting, Masterful, Profound, Great writing, Great staging

See it if enjoy historical plays; like Rupert Everett; want to see a well acted drama about Oscar Wilde

Don't see it if you don't like gay topic; nudity; historical plays

Also Staging of this David Hare drama was exquisite; seeing Rupert Everett ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Great writing

See it if for the great performances about one of the great playwrights of the English language.

Don't see it if nudity bothers you and/or great discourse is not your thing.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if See it for Rupert Everett and Cal MacAninch's moving performances, David Hare's witty dialogue and Dale Ferguson's luxurious set design.

Don't see it if you have problems with onstage nudity and you are not into dialogue-driven plays.

Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Slow, Sexy

See it if you can resist everything but temptation and male nudity.

Don't see it if you don't like verbose shows.

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You are a fan of Oscar Wilde, Rupert Everett, British television (cast is full of familiar faces), and historical dramas.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with nudity, sexual situations, or gay themes

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Slow

See it if you are a fan of Oscar Wilde and/or history of the era. Enjoy excellent acting by an iconic performer.

Don't see it if you haven't the slightest interest in Oscar Wilde; you are homophobic and dislike nudity of any kind on stage.

Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Slow

See it if you like still-relevant period pieces, great performances, and intelligent dialogue. (Extra points for the eye candy.)

Don't see it if you are hard of hearing... I sat in the gallery and had trouble hearing the actors, which made it a little slow since the dialogue is key.

Poignant, Great acting, Intelligent, Witty

See it if you are familiar with the trial of Oscar Wilde & the story of his liaisons ; see it for the masterful Rupert Everett

Don't see it if you don't appreciate Oscar Wilde's snappy wit; don't care for homosexual themes or painful stories of betrayal

Cast & Creatives (15)