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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

Washing the red pills down with the kool aid: Angry Alan @sohotheatre

There's a warning at the start of Angry Alan.  It's to alert you that some of the videos used in the production are available on Youtube. The ever-reliable platform for pop culture references, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and hate speech. All three come together here to show how effective social media is at radicalising and over-amplifying the darkest corners of the internet. It's currently playing at the Soho Theatre.

We meet Roger (Donald Sage Mackay). He was a high powered executive once. But now he's working at part time at a supermarket,  bothered by his ex wife.  and his girlfriend is studying feminism at community college. But one day while wasting time on the internet with click bait he finds a video that points out how awesome men are. Published by a man by the name of Angry Alan.  Soon he's going down the rabbit hole of the Men Going Their Own Way movement (or MGTOW). A movement which argues marriage fails in the cost benefit analysis.

Next he's embarrassing his girlfriend arguing with her friends about the gynocracy and red pills. The latter is a derivative reference to the film The Matrix, about recognising the gynocentric world that men live. Things move along amusingly (well they're amusing in that it's hard to believe people believe this pseudoscience), until his son announces he wants to be known as gender fluid. And then things take a much darker turn.

It's written and directed by Penelope Skinner and co-created with Mackay. It attempts to explain the current political landscape. And Mackay's detailed performance and a topical subject matter make this a compelling piece.

Although by selecting America it seems to be a safer choice. Heading home from the theatre, some self-styled "gilet jaunes" blocked the roads around Westminster. They seemed to have a shopping list of grievances (helpfully written on their vests). This included men's rights.

Angry Alan is at the Soho Theatre until 30 March. Videos raging against the gynocracy are a dime a dozen on Youtube and will run for years. They tend to cross reference each other and you'll find them running after ads for Intel gamer events and Travel Republic. They also sit alongside videos for UKIP and take downs of various snowflakes.


Photos by The Other Richard

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