An award-winning and provocative play on the plight of poet Oscar Wilde is showing in Canberra.

The Judas Kiss, by Mockingbird Theatre, is David Hare’s celebrated play about the last years of the great dramatist’s life.

It is 1895 and Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest is playing in the West End after a triumphant premiere, but already the wheels are in motion which will lead to his imprisonment, downfall and vilification. Forced to make a choice between his male lover and his freedom, the ever-romantic Wilde embarks on a course towards self-destruction.

The Judas Kiss is Mockingbird Theatre’s first production in Canberra, directed by Karina Hudson and featuring Mockingbird founder and director Chris Baldock as Oscar Wilde.

Featuring a cast of local, award-winning actors including Patrick Galen-Mules (The History Boys, The 39 Steps), Liam Jackson (42nd Street, Sweeney Todd), Arran McKenna (Noises Off), Cole Hilder (The History Boys, Dr. Frankenstein), Meaghan Stewart (Sweeney Todd, Oh What A Lovely War!) and Benjamin Russell (A View From The Bridge, Oh What A Lovely War!).

The play is strictly for audiences 16 years and over, as it contains nudity and adult themes.

Chris Baldock says the company works hard to ensure audiences are moved, thrilled and entertained.

“By bringing discerning audiences the best text-based contemporary and 20th Century plays from around the world while utilising the talents of Canberra’s brightest experienced and emerging theatrical talents, our goal is to firstly serve the playwright and secondly our audience,” he said.

“What we aim to create is some theatrical magic that will touch the mind and the soul.”

Mockingbird Theatre’s premiere Canberra production can be seen at the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre, until Sunday 5 August.