Audio Review: The Confessions of Dorian Gray – The Anniversary

Review by Jacob Licklider

The Confessions of Dorian Gray is a range from Big Finish Productions which had its start in 2012 using the public domain character from Oscar Wilde’s novel with the premise that instead of destroying the portrait with a knife Dorian kept on living throughout the century.  The range ended after five series in 2016, with an audiobook revival in 2019 reading three unmade stories, a quick free story during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, and now one special anniversary release on vinyl, The Anniversary.  Ordering The Anniversary from the Big Finish website also includes behind the scenes interviews, a music suite, and a reading of Scott Handcock’s 2012 story, Gray Matters.  While Gray Matters is a story, it does not share continuity with The Confessions of Dorian Gray and will not be discussed in detail for this review, though I will say it is an excellent piece of short fiction as long as you separate it from the typical continuity due to the characterisation of Dorian as a character being more lonely and detached.The Anniversary is presented as a discovered vinyl that has been restored and music recorded for general release, the first side opening with a message from director Scott Handcock about the discovery and restoration of the vinyl.  As such each side tells a different story with the same premise, it is the one year anniversary of Dorian Gray and Tobias Matthews, played by Alexander Vlahos and Hugh Skinner respectively, telling each other about things they’ve essentially done for one another in this year of their relationship.  Toby’s side is from an optimistic bent with an air of romance while Dorian’s side is more cynical and awkward which perfectly characterises their dynamic.  Scott Handcock’s script does an excellent job of putting accents on these two personalities while conveying the love of their relationship.  Personally Toby’s side is the one that appeals to me even if it has the vampire doing abhorrent things, the atmosphere of romance just felt slightly more engaging than Dorian’s which was agitated and a raw passion due to what the story was going.

While I don’t wish to spoil the short stories I will say that at least knowledge of The Heart That Lives Alone is recommended if you haven’t gotten into this range, which is something I highly recommend.  The Anniversary is very sweet and nostalgic while being quite aware of the dangers of nostalgia. 10/10

Order on CD or Vinyl from Big Finish

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