"When I make a new piece I have to have the right people. I'm doing this because I think I have a Dorian Gray." So says Matthew Bourne. And who has Britain's leading choreographer/ director chosen to embody heedless hedonism? Richard Winsor.
The potential career impact of personifying Oscar Wilde's notorious image of corrupting beauty – reimagined as an adored "It" boy let loose in the world of fashion photography – might unnerve some. But the handsome, self-possessed 26-year-old is too busy creating the role to think about that.
Small wonder: aside from a couple of workshops earlier this year, Dorian Gray is being made in an intense five weeks. If Winsor is fazed, he doesn't sound it – probably because he's an old Bourne hand. At 19, he finished training at the Central School of Ballet and walked into his first job in Bourne's sex-drenched The Car Man. He hasn't looked back. This is his sixth Bourne show, the most recent being Edward Scissorhands, for which Winsor created the title role. It was an international hit, and a sensation in Tokyo. "It was incredible. There were 50 to 100 people outside the stage-door every night."
Inventing roles has a curious impact. "If you've created a role such as Edward Scissorhands, watching someone else dance it after you is a strange feeling... like a partner cheating on you."
Judging by the buzz surrounding Dorian Gray, Winsor won't get a chance to be envious of anyone else dancing it for quite a while.
Dorian Gray runs from Friday to 30 August, King's Theatre, Edinburgh (0131 473 2000); and 2-14 Sept, Sadler's Wells, London EC1 (0844 412 4300)Reuse content