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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

Music that pulls no punches: Soul Sister

Soul Sister at Hackney Empire is a musical based on the life of Tina Turner. It's an opportunity to set the rhythm and blues music from Ike and Tina Turner to her lifestory with some incredible results. Most of this is due to the incredible powerhouse performances by Emi Wokoma as Tina and Chris Tummings as Ike. Wokoma doesn't pretend she is Tina Turner but is a star turn all the same. It's energetic, musical and thrilling. By the end of the show with the obligatory musical medley the audience was on its feet dancing.

It is a pity that the creative team decided to musicalise a story that features domestic violence so prominently. Either from shock or bewhilderment the audience were either laughing at every punch or cat calling. It was enough to make you feel like you were in the audience for the taping of a Jerry Springer show. Here's hoping as the show evolves there is a better solution to telling the Ike and Tina story on stage... And perhaps finding a punchier first act. Surely the show could have opened with a livelier number than "Private Dancer"?

Fascinating show all the same and it runs at the Hackney Empire until 5 May... For now...

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