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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

Work life balance: The Sewing Group @RoyalCourt

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The Sewing Group is a fabulously subversive piece of theatre at the Royal Court . The piece by EV Crowe explores secrets, the impact of technology, the overcomplicated and the over analysed. All within a wooden box-like set lit by candle light. It starts out innocent enough, but then has you perplexed. There are a series of very short (and disorienting) scenes where very little is given away. There are long silences and long blackouts. In one scene all that takes place is a distant fart. It was so distant that it made me wonder whether it came from the audience.

Brief encounters: X @Royalcourt

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At some point in the third act there is a constant shouting of the word X. "X, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, " the characters exclaim. Constantly. As a means to explain the loss of space and time in this futuristic story about a voyage to pluto, it is effective. But it also feels a bit like the rest of the piece. Relentlessly repetitive. The story is that a spaceship to Pluto has lost its way and the crew slowly realise that all concept of time and continuity has been lost. They have no idea where they are, or the present or the past. It looks great, with its 2001 a space odessey inspired set and projections. And I was chuffed to see that in the future everyone is wearing Vivobarefoot shoes . I think they are very comfortable and sensible even for the present day. But the piece with a teasing and mysterious first half promises more than it ultimately delivers. I'm

Theatre and therapy: In Basildon

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In Basildon by David Eldridge at The Royal Court is a brilliantly funny play about a dysfunctional family and an inheritance. Len is on his deathbed and the family gather to say goodbye. His two sisters Maureen and Doreen have not spoken in nearly twenty years. Doreen's son Barry is hoping to get the house as his inheritance so he can start a family. The scene is set for greed, grudges and entitlement against the backdrop of the city of Basildon , a rather bleak looking town created in post war England to house the growing population from London (and featured in the above promotional video).