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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

Theatre: Joan Rivers A Work In Progress by a Life in Progress

I asked my friend Adam if he wanted to see Joan Rivers in her show and his response (in his best Joan voice) was, "Doo eye??? Doo eye ever???" Such is the pull of Joan Rivers with gay men. They love her. Can't get enough of her. Well, it was a silly question for me to ask.

So there we were on Wednesday night in the Leicester Square Theatre watching her new show. The show is part drama, part autobiography, and part stand up routine and it is great from start to finish. Joan doesn't quite look like she does in the picture when she first walks on, but that is part of the story as well. Being Joan Rivers she doesn't hold back talking about ageing. And she goes into every detail about things that drop...

I always love a filthy mouth and as Joan herself says (to paraphrase of course as I was laughing too much to really note the line), "When you reach 75 why can't you say motherfucker if it gives you enjoyment?" Well she says a lot more than that during the course of the show... She also mixed things up a little during the course of the evening including berating the audience for being a bit retarded, getting a gay man in the front row to help her with her zip, took the piss out of her actors, and she even let two members of the audience ask her questions (I think they thought it was a masterclass)...

All told it was a hilarious evening with Joan and she made the show her own. I was not as familiar as Adam was with her routines or her life (I think he should consider doing her act as he even corrected her chronology of events - although I shudder to think how he would look in one of her wigs), so the show was an extra treat for me. It runs through September, and then there are repeat performances in December and January. Definitely one to catch.

Incidentally I was impressed by the newly refurbished Leicester Square Theatre. It is a different sort of space (which the West End needs) and has two bars in the main theatre as well. There are also some fantastic acts coming up over the next few months that will also be worth looking out for...

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