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Eternal guilt: Dorian The Musical @SWKplay

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Dorian is a new musical that updates Oscar Wilde’s gothic novel from the uptight Victorian era to an undetermined period of gender fluidity and glam rock. On paper, musicalising the Picture of Dorian Gray to a period of glam rock, social media, and cheap shoes seems like a good idea. After all, Oscar Wilde’s gothic story is very adaptable. It has been the source of countless adaptations for the stage, television or movies. I was half expecting a trashy Dorian, similar to the early 1980s telemovie that shifted Dorian’s gender to a woman. This version falls into a so bad it’s good category with Anthony Perkins in a lead role, who as he ages under makeup starts to look like Andy Warhol.  And while it’s great to see a new show, a strong cast can’t compensate for such an earnest production with underpowered songs. There’s no sense of fun, and some curious staging and costume choices  -mismatched dresses, crocodile boots and furry suits - serve as a distraction. It’s currently playing at th
Theatre: Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel was a fabulous little diversion for the evening, the weekend, the month... The run at the Donmar has completely sold out and for good reason since the show is so stylish and cleverly put together with a great cast.

There is not much set just the back of the hotel sign and a few props. The blanks are filled in with songs and dancing. So who could fault that? The history of this musical is that it was based on the 1938 film, but also on a failed musicalised version in the 1950s by the collaborators on Kismet. Half the songs were replaced in this version and it probably was for the best as while the shift in music styles is noticeable it also helps keep things moving. There is no interval but the one hour and 45 minutes just breezes by.

This production tells a much darker story than the film, but that probably suits modern tastes. Best of all was the Baron, played by Julian Ovenden - who was eye candy and ear candy with his looks and tenor voice. Even better was the scene in which he was on the couch underneath Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio looking into her eyes (and the rest). Sitting front row in the circle you could be forgiven for mistaking that he was making eyes with the audience... That's part of the intimate experience of live theatre that they don't always tell you about...

Housekeeping

As I drag this blog site out of mothballs, I will be looking at the format of the blog over the next few days. As more new postings go online the ones from 2003 will disappear as well I expect. The rest I will make up as I go along. And the blog will be more about me. Actually come to think of it, I am not sure if anyone will see any noticable changes!

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