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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

Quick snatches: The Future of Sex @wardrobensemble

The sexual revolution wasn't quite as it seemed in this style over substance account of sex in the seventies (or should that be present day)?

The Wardrobe Ensemble had a hit in Edinburgh last year with this show that goes beneath the hype of the sexual revolution, only to find that things were just as awkward then as they are now.

Narration, inner monologues and jump cuts to the present day pepper this story of a group of young people discovering sex in the 70s.

The theatrical tricks are quirky at first. But after an hour they feel repetitive and get in the way of real characterisations and story development. In the end there are few surprises.

Still there is a throbbing soundtrack, bad hairstyles and an awful lot of polyester. There are some nice touches that hint at the hypocrisy of the time. And when the sex does finally come, it's a spectacular swimming extravaganza.

But maybe you either had to have been there in the 1970s, or be a twenty-something now to get it. For me it was a shallow experience.

The Wardrobe Ensemble are a Bristol-based group of artists that work to create new works. This one pulses and throbs until April 23 at Shoreditch Town Hall. There is a tour that follows.


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