Succession actress to star in The Picture of Dorian Gray in London

Succession star Sarah Snook will play 26 different characters in a one-woman show opening in London next year.

The actress will star in a new adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

It will mark Snook’s first appearance on the London stage since her 2016 debut opposite Ralph Fiennes in The Master Builder.

Snook told BBC News the idea of playing so many roles was “an exhilarating challenge I can’t wait to get into”.

The Picture of Dorian Gray will open on 23 January 2024 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and run for nearly 12 weeks.

The new stage adaptation of Wilde’s 1890 novel has already enjoyed a successful run in Snook’s native Australia, although a different actress played the leading role there.

Discussing its London transfer, Snook said: “I’m so excited by the prospect of returning to the stage again, let alone a stage in the West End.

“Bringing a show to an international audience, to a theatre Oscar Wilde would no doubt have frequented, is thrilling, and demands a high calibre of theatrical experience to be worthy of the venture.”

She added: “The Picture of Dorian Gray is just that, and I’m honoured to be joining the team that created it. To be asked to play these multiple roles is an exhilarating challenge I can’t wait to get into.”

In a five-star review of the Australian production, The Guardian said Snook’s counterpart, actress Eryn Jean Norvill, had “dazzled” in the role.

“[The show] is ambitious, exuberant and whip-smart; it is an embrace of theatre’s past, present and future,” wrote theatre critic Cassie Tongue.

The production was adapted and directed by Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic director Kip Williams, who will also direct its West End transfer.

Earlier this year, Snook starred in the hugely acclaimed fourth and final series of the Emmy-winning drama Succession, which was warmly praised by critics.

She played Shiv Roy in the series, one of four children battling for control of their father Logan Roy’s international media and entertainment company.

Snook said it was “thrilling” to be recreating the story of Dorian Gray for a new audience
Like its sister production in Australia, The Picture of Dorian Gray will employ a collection of on-stage cameras and video screens which help bring the characters to life.

“The powerful use of Snapchat filters and other selfie-style shots draw heavy parallels to the impossible beauty standards of social media influencers and how this curated identity can be the painted rust concealing psychological trauma beneath,” Time Out said in its review of the Australian production.

Despite the presence of the cameras and screens, the production features minimal pre-recording and Snook will play the overwhelming majority of the characters live each night, with the cameras employed more as a technique to complement her performance.

Dealing with themes of morality, narcissism and excess, The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of a young man who sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty.

The show’s titular protagonist makes a deal that his body will retain perfect youth, while a recently-painted portrait of him – representing his soul – grows older and uglier instead.

Gray begins committing a series of debauched acts, but as he does, the ever-changing portrait he has in his house becomes increasingly hideous, serving as a reminder of the effect each evil act has on his soul.

Gray’s descent into sin and hedonism ultimately leads him to question the real source of beauty in life.

Discussing the London production of the play, Snook said: “This story of morality, innocence, narcissism and consequence is going to be thrilling to recreate for a new audience.”

The transfer from Australia to London mirrors that of Prima Facie, which was staged in Sydney before its West End transfer scored its British star Jodie Comer an Olivier and Tony Award.