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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: Enemies

In keeping with a week of corporate greed, I had the opportunity to see Gorky's play Enemies performed at the Almeida Theatre on Thursday. It is a new translation by David Hare and it was fantastic (the critics seem to think so as well). As an ensemble piece the actors worked so well together, and they were rather pleasing on the eye as well but I digress…

Gorky's play is about trouble at a Russian factory. When the managing directory of the family-run factory is shot and killed is it the start of a worker uprising or was it just an accident? The family is split between those who see conspiracies and those who sympathise with the oppressed workers, so the drama is set. This translation keeps thing going at a brisk pace and there is enough fiery dialogue in it to keep anybody's attention focussed on the action at hand. The final scene although a tad abrupt, did really sum it all up well (and was accompanied with a slight amount of theatrical flourish)…  It was enough to make you go "oooh". I think I did as I had had too much red wine by this point on an empty stomach…

It is also worth pointing out that the drama takes place on a stage that was gorgeously set - a garden with trees and grass and woodland. Not at all like the cheap set thrown together for the National Theatre's Voysey Inheritance.  

Interestingly at drinks following the play not everyone who saw the play loved it. One rather famous theatre person was pouring shit over the production in between hoovering down the canapés. Perhaps it wasn't his cup of tea as he prefers his Gorky embalmed rather than injected with real drama.  There's no pleasing some people I suppose.

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