Oscar Wilde once remarked that he had put his genius into his life and only his talent into his work. And Neil Titley’s sympathetic one-man show at the Kings Head, Work is the Curse of the Drinking Classes, proves that for once the familiarly flip Wilde aphorism contains more than a grain of truth.Great success and public approval were brutally followed by disgrace, downfall and the kind of weary self-knowledge which suffering seems to bring.
Remarkably, Titley manages to touch on all these facets of Wilde. He has based it on the writer’s letters and essays and set in Paris in 1898, two years before the exile’s death. Naturally the bon mots and withering judgments are there in plenty - ‘The world is a stage but the play is badly cast’ among them - but so too is the fatigue and sadness of a figure much more sinned against than sinning.
Titley balances Wilde’s almost dutiful humour with an unsentimental portrayal of his suffering in Reading jail, his bitter perception of man’s inhumanity to man. He also captures his character’s dignity in despair and the comedy makes the heartbreak of Wilde’s life even more poignant. It is a most moving effect, and ironically one which Wilde rarely achieved in his own work.’

‘An entirely superb performance…From the moment this blowsy, overweight character in grubby evening dress sauntered on to the bare set, we were treated to a sparkling exhibition of Wilde’s wit by a professional who knew exactly what he was about. It was an object lesson in stagecraft and the man simply WAS Oscar Wilde.’ - Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe.

Sheridan Morley, Punch Magazine. UK.
‘There are many good jokes here, plus a glimpse of the bitterness beneath them as the laughs shade down to a final dying despair and the awful realisation that at the last man has only three choices: this world, the next world, or Australia. Mr. Titley deserves a return visit to the London Theatre.’

‘SOLO SHOW.A remarkable characterisation of Oscar Wilde after his social downfall, by the brilliant young actor, Neil Titley, launched Malvern solo theatre festival in the candlelit ambience of the Red Lion Annexe. Titley not only captured an astonishing physical resemblance to Wilde, but his selection of anecdotes to conjure up the essence of the man - ironic, sardonic, satiric, aesthetic and pathetic - brought to his performance the elements of great tragedy.THE MALVERN GAZETTE. UK

‘Titley’s picture gives the audience a many-sided, fascinating and complete image of a rich personality…it is simple yet full of meaning.’ - Der Parool, Amsterdam.

The Times. London UK.
‘Titley’s evocation of Wilde is much more enjoyable than most one man shows…it offers a mordant self knowledge…a good portrait, funny and melancholic.’

Cynical, sad and unfailingly stylish - these were perhaps the essential qualities which emerged in Neil Titley’s magnificent portrait…The characterisation is beautifully handled - the intense understatement is extraordinarily powerful.’ - Henley Standard. UK

’Mr. Titley has selected his material well and catches just the right tone in his delivery. Apart from the wit there is pathos too as he harks back to Wilde’s trials and the time he spent in prison. Certainly, Mr. Titley makes Oscar very good company to be in.’-  What’s On In London.  Michael Darvell.

‘As the witty and often hilarious figure of Oscar Wilde, Mr. Titley proved to be a big festival success’ - Ilkley Post. UK.

‘A razor sharp verbal assault...intricate and memorable’ -Camden Journal. UK

‘Delightfully entertaining.’ - The Cornishman. UK

‘Titley’s play deserves special credit for pointing up all the strands of Wilde’s life... he has also organised his material with credit, moving effortlessly from the light to the shade.’ - Steve Grant, Time Out. UK.

“A wonderful piece of theatre.”- Riviera Radio, France.

‘Brilliantly captures the bygone tones of the real Wilde… Titley lovingly conjures a man exiled by a society that once lionised him.’ - South China Morning Post.

‘Titley has brought something new to the one-man show.’ - Financial Times. UK

‘A masterly portrayal.’ - Bulawayo Chronicle. Zimbabwe.

‘In fifty minutes, Titley manages to convey Wilde’s utter contempt for cant and hypocrisy …he catches all the authority of Wilde with a well paced and sensitive performance.’ - Gay News. UK

‘An excellent portrait…so amusing that even the uninitiated would have been converted.’ - Wisbech Standard. UK

‘Sheer joie de vivre.’ - The Monitor, Ethiopia.

‘It relies on the great man’s wit and the actor’s formidable presence…An impressive evocation.’ - Richmond Times. UK.

‘Charming and witty.’ - Irish Times.

‘A cynical and witty portrayal…Titley seems to thrive on Wilde’s eloquent style of paradoxical humour.’ - Eastern Daily Press. UK.

“A great show.” - Channel 55, Gulf TV, Bahrain.

‘Wilde said that ideal criticism should consist of unqualified approval. No doubt he would have approved of this.’ - Islington Gazette. UK.

‘Unfailingly compelling…a superbly structured and moving account.’ - Andover Gazette. UK.

‘Fine and genuinely moving jail sequence.’ Festival Times, Edinburgh. UK.

‘Neil Titley, in period garb, was every bit the witty, paradoxical Wilde, lampooning the social mores of his time. The audience was held in rapt attention’ - The Pilot, North Carolina, USA.

‘It’s a marvellous show.’ - Penthouse Magazine.