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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

A matter of laughs and death: Good Grief

Another week in lockdown passes. The chances of theatres reopening anytime soon still seem remote. And so experiments with the possibilities for theatrical streams continues with Good Grief

Theatre streams have been filmed plays, staged readings or even staged like a zoom meeting. Good Grief plays with the feeling of a staged production. Scene changes and props are moved around on camera and titles pop up on screen to set the scene. 

It opens at the end of a party. It looks like it's been a big night of drinking and going on. But it turns out that it was after a wake. In between sorting out the mess from the party Cat (Sian Clifford) and Adam (Nikesh Patel) stumble around the topic of losing someone they both loved to cancer.

The piece tracks Cat and Adam coming to terms with their loss, their feelings of guilt about leaving things not the way they had hoped. And they're trying to navigate the niceties and expected behaviours following a death in modern Britain. What's the best way to distribute the belongings of someone who has died? Should atheists have funerals in a church? Is pink underwear a sign of moving on?

Clifford and Patel create an intimate and funny portrayal of two people with a past. They're muddling through to find a way forward and move on. With or without shagging each other. There's also an honesty in the writing and performances that draw you into it. And of course, Clifford being of Fleabag fame, gives the piece a jolt of star power.

A piece about Grief and loss, even a funny one, may not be everyone's idea of a good time during a pandemic. But on the other hand, although so many people have died in the past year, it seems abstract. Here death and its impact on those around it is front and centre. 

Written and created by Lorien Haynes and directed by Natalie Abrahami, it is available to stream from 15 February on Original Theatre Online. It’s also worth checking the other productions available to stream on the site as well.

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