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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

Big Rhythms: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives @arcolatheatre

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There’s no subject matter taboo in The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. This is a play where the title character’s penis is described as “so big that two men could share it and still be well-endowed.” The characters talk to the audience, throw props at them and emerge from the audience. Detailed and frank depictions of sex and gender dynamics play out before you at the Arcola Theatre . Yet behind the funny and frank depictions of sex, there’s clever storytelling in this adaptation for stage by Rotimi Babatunde, from Lola Shoneyin’s novel. It deftly moves between comedy and drama, past and present without skipping a beat. Baba Segi (Patrice Naiambana) looms large over the piece. He’s a rich business man. But he’s also a buffoon who has three wives. The combination makes him likable even if he cannot believe women can fend for themselves or if he uses his organ on them like a hammer. His first wife had money and was the daughter of his mother’s friend. His second wife was to pay a debt