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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

Petty theft and other austerity measures: Spine @SohoTheatre

Spine, which is playing at the Soho Theatre until 2 November is a fascinating piece that looks into  the importance of knowledge in the age of apathy.

Written by Clara Brennan, it takes you on an unexpected journey. What starts out as a story of (potentially predictable) rebellious and troubled teenager builds to make some wry observations about generational divides, the loss of political leadership in modern Britain and the apathy of people, particularly in London, over things that were once valued. 
Funny and bittersweet, it is a powerhouse performance by Rosie Wyatt. She brings together two very different characters - the troubled and petty criminal teenager, and the elderly widow - in an emotional and at times explosive performance.

Over the piece, the characters bond over stories of petty theft and a large collection of books that the old woman has amassed in her house in Willesden.

Wyatt's intense performance won her a Stage Award for Acting Excellence for her performance of the piece in Edinburgh and it is easy to see why.

Even when she broke away from the script to tell someone in the audience to "get off (their) fucking phone, love", you half expected that if that person didn't obey she was going to beat the living daylights out of the recalcitrant. In character. 

From production company, Foolscap was set up in 2014 by Francesca Moody, Bethany Pitts and Clara Brennan to craft politically conscious new work with storytelling at its heart.

Foolscap are about galvanising audiences, through a combination of grit, wit and great theatre. You will be rushing out to your local library (if it isn't already closed and boarded up) to renew your library membership after seeing it.

Don't miss it. And put your phone on silent and out of sight.

****

Photo credits: Edinburgh production by Richard Davenport

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