One of the most hyped dance productions in recent times, Matthew Bourne’s Dorian Gray is set to make its Japan premiere at Tokyo’s Bunkamura Orchard Hall this July.

by Matthew Hernon

A modern-day take on Oscar Wilde’s novel, it explores the sinister side of society’s obsession with youth, fame and celebrity. The show has been a spectacular success in the UK, breaking audience records at the Edinburgh International Festival and consistently selling out at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. Choreographer Bourne seems to have something of a golden touch and is often seen as the man responsible for bringing dance into mainstream popular culture. For actor Richard Winsor, who will play Gray in Tokyo, there is nobody quite like him.

“He brings a story that is realistic and deep to dance,” Winsor tells Weekender. “I don’t think there is anyone else doing that. It is a universal style that audiences, wherever we go, seem to warm to.”

Winsor has worked with Bourne on a number of high profile projects, but says the role of Gray is his darkest yet.

“He’s a really intriguing character who is corrupted by an obsession of power that takes him on a journey of self-discovery and self-hatred with sex, drugs and murder along the way. I can see a lot of parallels between him and Patrick Bateman (from the movie American Psycho). The performance by Christian Bale in that is horrifically brilliant and worked really well with what I wanted to do with Dorian.”

Winsor has played the role on and off for around five years, but in Japan he will be sharing the lead in alternating shows with Yusuke Onuki. While Winsor admits he would prefer to play the role by himself, he agrees it will be great for the Japan audience to see two versions. He also has huge admiration for Onuki, and it seems the feeling is mutual.

“I remember being so impressed by his performance in Swan Lake in 2010,” says Onuki. “That was when I decided that I had to work in a major production with Matthew Bourne. When I heard about Dorian Gray I headed out to London by myself to audition. I wasn’t really nervous, my overriding emotion was determination; I couldn’t leave there without getting the role.”

Onuki is looking to repay the faith shown in him – he got the part, of course – with a powerful performance in a show he’s expecting to be spectacular.

“It has a bit of everything, a mixture of wildness and beauty with scenes that you almost can’t watch, yet at the same time can’t look away. I am sure it will be a huge success, I just hope I do the role justice.”

For more information on Dorian Gray, which plays at 11-15 July, see or for shows in Japan.