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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

Take me to the world: Hide and Seek @parktheatre

Photo of actors Louis Scarpa and Nico Cetrulo

In a small town where everyone knows everyone, if you don't like it, you might feel that the only logical thing to do is to disappear. Especially if you think it will help your social media rankings. The loneliness and isolation of youth meet influencers in the wild in Tobia Rossi's Hide and Seek. And while events take a darker turn, the humour and the intimacy make this piece about youth on the edge (of trending) fascinating and enjoyable. It's currently playing at Park Theatre

Mirko (Nico Cetrulo) is exploring a cave with his camera when he stumbles on Gio (Louis Scarpa). Gio has been missing for a while, and the town has been looking for him. But Gio is more interested in how much he is trending on TikTok. He also had a crush on Mirko. Soon, they establish a friendship and a bond. In the cave, they explore feelings they would not dare share outside. However, things turn darker when Gio is confident enough to leave the cave, while Mirko doesn't want his double life to be exposed. 

Photo of actor Louis Scarpa

It's an engaging piece thanks to the chemistry of the two leads, which give the piece an, at times, breathtaking hormone-induced energy while conveying the tenderness of two lost young men in the woods. 

Constance Comparot's set is simple yet effective, giving the sense of an alien chasm and a refuge from the outside world. And Alex Forey's lighting fills the story with darkness and shadows.

In some parts, I struggled to relate to the piece. For instance, if I were in a cave with a hot guy and it had been a while since I last had a shower, I wouldn't need him to tell me to use wet wipes. But Tobia Rossi's story captures many contradictions of being young, trying to fit in, and finding out who you are. Its humour and everyday references make the ending feel more tragic, highlighting that evil comes from the banalest of motivations. 

Translated and directed by Carlotta Brentan, Hide and Seek continues at Park Theatre until 30 March, after being seen in the UK at the Vault Festival in 2023. Opening the week the Vault Festival announced its permanent closure is a fitting reminder of the festival's value to London over its twelve years of existence. 


Photo of actors Louis Scarpa and Nico Cetrulo

Photos: Mariano Gobbi

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