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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: Little Shop of Horrors


Paul Keating plays Seymour... Hello! Suddenly Seymour he purified everyone...

Tonight I caught Little Shop of Horrors at the Menier Chocolate Factory near London Bridge. Again it is another fantastic production that doesn't put a foot wrong. I have never seen a stage production of this show but this musical has been a long-time favourite of mine... There's a talking plant, a sadomasochistic dentist, a sweet girl and a nerdy boy. Throw in the late Howard Ashman's witty book and lyrics and Alan Menken's music and you have a very entertaining show. I knew almost every lyric in this show and found myself still laughing at the jokes... They still seem fresh and funny even though the show is approaching 25 years of age...

My excitement over Little Shop of Horrors surprised Mk who I went with. He likes the show too and normally we have rather different tastes in musical theatre. For instance he has seen Mamma Mia ten times and I just can't bring myself to seeing it yet... He also liked Cabaret which we kept arguing about all over dinner beforehand... It was somewhat of a relief that we could both agree that we enjoyed this production.

The show kept faithful to the original production (ignoring the changes made for the 1986 movie) and it was so well put together. It helped with a terrific cast which included Sheridan Smith as Audrey and Paul Keating (pictured above in an earlier role) as the nerdy Seymour. I mentioned to Mk that I did think PK was a bit of a looker and he thought I was daft. I think he couldn't get past the brown hair dye that had been inflicted on PK. Granted brown hair dye isn't a good look on anybody who is pasty white) but I was looking past that... Judging by photos on the internet of his previous acting jobs this was probably a sensible choice...

And as for Audrey II, that mean green mother came to life as a talking pitcher plant. Also of merit were the girl chorus who helped give the show its humour and lift. It was great stuff and although it has only just opened surely looks destined to transfer to the West End at some point next year... Particularly if the reaction of tonight's audience is any gauge of things...

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