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Eternal guilt: Dorian The Musical @SWKplay

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

Opera: The Minotaur

I caught the last night of the Harrison Birtwistles's new opera The Minotaur on Saturday at The Royal Opera. It is a thrilling and slightly disturbing opera (not to mention bloody too). Mind you, before the interval an elderly couple walked out. Maybe all that blood and rape and horror and gore was a bit too much for them. But that's new opera for you... At times I was wondering whether I was watching a high culture horror show (although I could have done with more blood and more realistic killings if that was the case).

The first appearance of the Minotaur (played by John Tomlinson) was a pretty dramatic moment and for nearly three hours the show didn't let up. Still, there is a lot to like about this opera starting with the music. The production design and the costumes - particularly the bulls head - were particularly creepy. The final battle sequence (depicted above) literally had everyone in my section on the edge of their seats (although that was party due to the fact we were in the cheap seats and had a partially obscured view). While the run has finished for now I suspect this isn't the last we have heard of this new work...

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