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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

Flipping hell: A Simple Space @Udderbellyfest @GOM_Circus

A Simple Space, by Australian-based circus troupe Gravity and Other Myths, is the latest round of circus offering at the Udderbelly Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Between the amazing feats of acrobatics you can hear a constant sound. The sound of heavy breathing. It is coming from the stage. This is pretty intense stuff here and the energy and sweat from the performers is audible and palpable. And in the space of the giant purple cow, where you are up close to the performers, it seems much more intense and intimate.

The title of the show suggests what is in store. There is nothing fancy but some terrific performances by the young and enthusiastic troupe as they do things that you wouldn’t think possible for the body to be able to do.

There is a segment that is a back flips competition where each performer back flips to the point of exhaustion. Watching the performers up close strain and exert to backflip again and again to the point of exhaustion, using up whatever energy reserves they have, seems like it could be considered cruelty to nice young acrobats. But it is also an impressive spectacle.

Other highlights include a rapid strip-skipping and various painful looking balancing acts on each others faces and other body parts. Audience participation is limited to throwing little coloured balls at the performers while they try to remain upside down on their hands.

While the staging may be pared back, and there are not any glitzy costumes (although there are quite a few spectacular looking bodies up there), its simplicity and live percussion accompaniment make for a slick production.

And given the spontenaity of the show (and the nature of the acrobatics) no show is probably the same and worth a look once or twice.

It is on at the Southbank Centre as part of the Udderbelly Festival until 24 May.


Production photos by Chris Herzfeld

A Simple Space Promo 2015 from Gravity & Other Myths on Vimeo.

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