The Trials of Oscar Wilde - Part I:
'Between the Bark and The Tree'
(Christopher Fitzsimon)

Directed by
Peter Kavanagh

The Cast
Nathaniel Parker............. Edward Carson
Nigel Davenport.............. Marquis of Queensbury
Simon Russell-Beale........ Oscar Wilde
Peter Sallis..................... Edward Clarke
Gerard Murphy............... Frank Harris
Christopher Scott............ Charles Brookfield
Robert Harper................ Seymour Hicks
Alex Lowe...................... Lord Alfred Douglas
Sean Baker.................... Lord Rosebury
Jonathan Adams............. Mr Birtwhistle
Chris Pavlo.................... Charles Parker
Richard Pearce............... Robert Ross
Jim Norton..................... George Bernard Shaw
Kim Wall........................ Alfred Taylor

First broadcast 5th October 1996 - BBC Radio 4
Repeated 10th April 2005- BBC7


Review of Play
The eccentric, perhaps mentally unstable Marquis of Queensbury, as part of a campaign to stop Wilde's relationship with his son Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie), has left his visiting card for Wilde, with the words "To Oscar Wilde, posing sodomite"… Against good advice, Wilde has brought a prosecution for libel against the Marquis and he's been brought for trial at the Old Bailey.

Part one of this play takes us as far as the Marquis' acquittal, to the point of Wilde's arrest resulting from allegations made during the trial. Part two, in which Edward Carson doesn't appear, follows Wilde's own trial for gross indecency.

Review of Nat's Performance
Although he doesn't appear for well over half an hour into the play, I really like this role for Nat a lot. Playing the Dublin-born lawyer and solicitor-general for Ireland, Edward Carson QC who was called to the English bar in 1894, he sounds quite unlike anything else he's done.

Having before this trial earned a reputation for taking things with 'plodding literalness', Carson went on to become solicitor-general for England, gaining a knighthood and a prominent political career. At the time of the play, 1895, Nat portrays the 40-yr old lawyer, speaking for the defence, very convincingly.

Performing theatrically, as they sometimes do in court, he pauses to find the right place in his paperwork for reference, and with perfect timing parries and is completely unfazed by Oscar Wilde's flippancy and witticisms. With his relentless and thorough cross-examination he gradually presses home the attack and eventually manages to rattle and unnerve Wilde, finishing off with a forceful and very damaging summing up that convinces the jury of his client's innocence.

In the closing minutes of the play, Nat also makes a very brief but charming (and uncredited) appearance as a Scotland Yard Inspector.. this time as the 'cockney' D I Richards.

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