THE downfall of legendary playwright and wit Oscar Wilde has long been the stuff of legend.

But it is also a human story of a successful man brought low for falling foul of the prejudices of his time.

In Wilde's case it was because he was gay.

A new play which uses the actual transcript of the trial that led to his imprisonment and ruin comes to Windsor's Theatre Royal this month as part of a national tour.

Wilde's grandson Merlin Holland - who remembers his grandfather's name being taboo in the family when he was growing up - has co-written The Trials of Oscar Wilde.

He says: "Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to tell the story of my grandfather on stage but none of them has really managed to bring alive the drama of Oscar's courtroom appearances. Using the actual words from the libel trial, and with a careful reconstruction of Wilde's prosecution by the Crown for homosexuality it's a chance for audiences to see the real Oscar for the first time.

"The Trials of Oscar Wilde should be an obligatory part of every young person’s education to teach them the meaning of tolerance and more than ever in today’s world about the appalling consequences of blinkered homophobia."

John O'Connor who co-wrote the play said: "Oscar Wilde is many people’s ideal dinner guest but it’s difficult to imagine how he actually spoke. However, thanks to the transcripts of the trials, we can hear Wilde’s true voice in all its exasperating brilliance. It’s exciting to discover that he did talk in

perfectly formed epigrams and paradoxes but the Old Bailey was far too dangerous a place to do that."

The play stars John Gorick as Oscar and Rupert Mason as Edward Carson - the Irish QC who devastating cross examination cruelly destroyed his prey's attempt to charm the court through wit and ensured his destruction.

This national tour of The Trials of Oscar Wilde will support the LGBT charity Stonewall.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde runs at the Theatre Royal, Windsor from March 26 to 30. Box office 01753 853888.