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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: Death(c)rap

After catching Tuesday's preview of Deathtrap with the West End Whingers and others, I was left slightly ambivalent about it. Sure it was entertaining and mildly amusing, but so is throwing insults at chuggers, and you can do that for free. I had also missed catching the "movie-like" trailer on the internet as well so even the pre-show buzz about this show had passed me by. So when the opportunity arose to see it again on Saturday night, I thought why not. So this post covers both the Tuesday and Saturday preview of the show... It may be a little odd seeing the same show twice in one week but I figured I would simply channel the mindset of Simon Russell Beale's stalker number one fan to get through the show...

Upon arriving at the theatre, you are asked not to give away the story to others and I suspect that is because if people knew it was as creaky as the set then they might have second thoughts. On Tuesday night what made it fun was the audience screaming and the loud sound effects. On Saturday night, while I wasn't as close sitting in the Royal Circle, there was a much better overall view of the show and more C-list celebs about, such as that guy from the Pineapple Dance Studios. While Tuesday night the screams from the circle tended to give away things before you could see what was happening in the stalls, on Saturday night there was less of that, which was a pity as even if the story is predictable, there is nothing like a good scream to get your attention... Neither night however sold me on the merits of this show.

Maybe thrillers are meant to be dated and slightly hoary, but the complete lack of chemistry between the three lead characters doesn't help. There is also some particularly fine scene chewing by the other characters as well, dating it even further and moving the show beyond any doubt of credibility. Perhaps with a bit more immagination in setting up the premise of a desperate writer, maybe it would have been a bit more of an enjoyable and believable show. There are still some cheap thrills at appropriate points and the sound effects boom and people tend to jump at that. Whether they are enjoying it is another matter... There is a line where the psychic predicts that she sees a successful show that will run for years. A tad presumptuous for this production perhaps... Worth catching for mildly entertaining cheap thrills and even cheaper laughs... Or if you like your men with beards...

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