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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

Personal atrocities: Into The Numbers @finborough

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Into the Numbers is a haunting exploration into the mind of writer Iris Chang and her struggle with success and demons. Written by Christopher Chen, it’s having its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre . Iris Chang wrote a best selling book about the massacre of 300,000 civilians in Nanking at the hands of Japanese soldiers. The book, The Rape of Nanking , describes in graphic detail the way in which people were brutally murdered. Including an estimated 80,000 women and young girls were raped. Seven years later, Chang would kill herself at the age of 36, leaving a suicide note that was meticulously edited and rewritten. What’s fascinating about the piece is how Chen uses fragments from her personal and professional life to explain why this happened. In doing so, he not only explores the subject matter but also gets beneath the surface of mental illness. Opening as a lecture and an interview with Chang, the piece sets the scene and recounts facts from the book. But things begins