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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

Close-knit families: Beowulf An Epic Panto @Kingsheadthtr

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Charles Court Opera are back with their boutique panto season at the Kings Head Theatre . This time they are taking a story of epic proportions with Beowulf. It helps to know the epic poem. It helps to know various pop cultural references and songs thrown into the mix. Alternatively, you can let much of it sail over your head and enjoy the inspired silliness of it all. And indeed, that’s more than anyone could want out of a pantomime? It’s currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre.  In this version of Beowulf, the hero (Matthew Kellet) has a bit of an image problem. And not just because of his 80’s inspired hair. He expects to be the hero to save the day, but Princess Hrothmund (Julia Mariko Smith) can take the monster Grendel on her terms. Grendel doesn’t seem to be much of a monster either. Played by Philip Lee, he wants to make friends. His mother is another matter. There’s some inspired messing about with both the tale of Beowulf and the conventions of pantomime. The principal bo

Something cuddly and fluffy for Christmas: Buttons @KingsHeadThtr

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It’s hard not to like a show where the central character is a man in a giant bear suit. And with great performances, gorgeous costumes and high production values, Buttons is fun and entertaining. This is Charles Court Opera’s self-described “boutique panto” and it’s currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre . The show’s an eccentric yet panto-style reworking of the Cinderella story. Buttons centres around Cinderella’s teddy bear, Buttons. He’s is in love with Cinderella but as he’s a teddy bear it‘s all very platonic cuddly love. Until a fairy godfather visits Buttons and turns him into a man and things get interesting. And a little bit weird. Meanwhile and evil Prince Charming is persuing Cinderella. He’s been knocking off various fictional characters to say young and charming and sees Cinderella as his next victim. And Cinderella’s mother is trying to pull a policeman who is investigating the death of various fairy tale characters. Created by Charles Court Opera’s artistic direc