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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

Supporting local fringe: House to House @BrxHouseTheatre

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Brixton House, which formerly was known as Ovalhouse theatre, opens at its new location in Spring 2021. Meanwhile, they're taking the opportunity during lockdown to look back on some highlights from the Ovalhouse days. Called House To House , Filmed by LIVR , the 360° virtual reality theatre platform will feature their past productions. Random Selfies (4 June) from Mike Kenny, WHITE (11 June) and GREY  (18 June) from Koko Brown, and Derailed (25 June) from Little Soldier will each be available free on the Brixton House website for one week only. You can also donate to Brixton House on their website .

Have a good day: Grey @Ovalhouse theatre

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Koko Brown is a strong, independent, Black woman. She’s written one show, and she now has another called Grey playing at Ovalhouse Theatre . A fantastic performer who uses spoken word, live vocal looping and multimedia to tell her stories, she has so many exciting and fabulous thing in her life. What could be wrong? But she’s also a little sad. And this starts the story and journey exploring in mental illness and having an elusive good day. Similar to the exploration of labels and names explored in her first work, White, Brown uses Grey to tell a story about mental health and discovering who she is and as a black woman in modern Britain. Candid, honest and provocative. It's also funny. And it’s moving how Brown, as the character Woman, depicts her journey as she struggles to cope with everyday life before seeking help. Then after help the unexpected side effects and consequences of drugs on her body, while still trying to be everything everyone expects her to be. Alongsid

Bit of a scuffle: Custody @ovalhouse

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Custody has returned to the Ovalhouse Theatre  following an earlier run there. Seemingly taken from the headlines, it follows the fallout from after black man in south London was arrested and then dies in police custody.  “There was a bit of a scuffle, and I’m sorry to say he passed away,” Informs the police officer arriving at the home. And then his family and his lover are left behind to pick up the pieces and pull together the strands of information about what happened. It’s a powerful piece inspired by creator Urban Wolf’s experience with the police and written in collaboration with Tom Wainwright. Part poetry, dreams, reality and anger, a series of short scenes come together to paint a picture of how the system is against people from the start if they don’t look or act the right way. Written at the time of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (which has since been replaced by the Independent Office for Police Conduct), it details the petty bureaucracy and ge

Little miss cellophane: Random Selfies

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Trying to fit in a tech-enabled world full of hashtags, make-overs and fear of missing out, is at the heart of Random Selfies. No matter how many followers you have on social media still can’t replace having friends to hang out with. Rather than being someone nobody sees. It’s a short but sweet tale that’s returned to Ovalhouse Theatre . We’re introduced to Loretta (Christina Ngoyi) in her bedroom. But she prefers to go with the name Lola, not some granny’s name she was named after. There are text messages pinging her and her Instagram feed is buzzing. She never misses a chance to post a selfie. But living alone with her mother she’s actually very lonely. Her older sister’s moved out and nobody at schools seems to know she’s there. And so retreats to a world of drawing and social media trends. Dreaming of life as a vlogger. That all changes when a new girl Maya arrives at school. She doesn’t quite fit in. And after a teacher asks Lola to show her around they become friends. L

Things to see: The Dark @Ovalhouse

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The Dark is Nick Makoha's retelling of an experience he tries to remember a forgotten journey. Fragments slowly come to light. It’s nighttime, November 1978. He’s four years old. Holding his mother’s hand they’re leaving Kampala buying safe passage. The journey of a young boy and his mother escaping a divided country under a brutal dictatorship is at the heart of this story. Writer and performer Nick Makoha is a poet, playwright, performer, activist and mentor. He’s also the winner of the 2015 Brunel African Poetry Prize. The piece is currently playing at The Ovalhouse Theatre until 1 December.

Mad as hell and serving Cava: Derailed @Ovalhouse

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Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. But when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Or in the case of Derailed at Oval House , make gazpacho. And serve Cava.  The premise is that in the post-Brexit UK, they are heading back to Spain. But rather than leave downtrodden and defeated, they’re going to stage the mother of all leaving parties.  The music blares, the party poppers fly and the party begins. The piece opens with a series of photos from Patricia and Mercè‘s 12 years living in the UK. With the grey skies and dismal towns you start thinking Brexit wasn’t the only reason for their decision to leave. And with a series of improvised scenarios you’ll find yourself live tweeting a petition, having a long hug with a complete stranger. Or wearing an unconvincing wig holding a banner protesting something. Along they way they chart some of their life in London and in Spain.  The premise of Patricia Rodríguez and Mercè Ribot‘s work is to use physical theatre and improvision to create somet

Mixed race privilege: White @ovalhouse

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I always knew what I was. I was mixed race. I was... And so begins Koko Brown’ s monologue White. It’s about being mixed race and being an outsider and growing up in modern Britain dealing with labels when sometimes none really fit. It’s currently playing at the Ovalhouse Theatre as part of its Autumn Series of shows. Koko Brown uses spoken word, live vocal looping and multimedia to create a powerful and compelling statement on how we view people.