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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

It’s grim up there: Hangman

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Hangmen is Martin McDonagh's first new work on the London stage in a decade. But something is unsettling about this commentary on mob mentality and nostalgia. It’s grim world where the hero is the second best hangman in the country. And the smell of cigarette smoke and stale beer permeates the air. Well you don’t smell the beer but there is so much smoking on stage it wafts into the audience. It is 1963 when the show opens. A prisoner is desperate to delay his execution by any means possible. But Harry Wade, the resourceful and efficient hangman, keeps things on track. The scene is hilarious right up to the moment when the trapdoor opens and you hear his neck snap. Fast forward two years and Harry is running a pub in Oldham. Capital punishment has been abolished. A cub reporter from the local paper is chasing him for an interview. Still, he has his regulars at the pub. They are like his fans, clinging on to stories from the old days as if capital punishment was a sport.