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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

Office romance: Venus and Adonis @RiversideLondon

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As you enter the Riverside Studios , where Christopher Hunter is performing Shakespeare's epic poem, Venus and Adonis, Hunter is already there—sitting on a bench with his attaché case, wearing a suit and writing furiously. There are papers crumpled and tossed about. It's as if he is writing the piece from a 1990s office. All that's missing is the scream of the office fax (we heard phones ringing even though that wasn't part of the performance).  Written by Shakespeare during the outbreak of the plague in 1592, it's considered to be Shakespeare's first work. It's an evocative piece about the Goddess of love and her attempts to attract the handsome and probably fit Adonis, who would prefer to go hunting.  As performed by Hunter, the age-old tale of unrequited love takes surprising twists and turns in this epic poem. Starting as the piece's writer, he becomes the characters and immerses himself in the words. Consonants fly out at you, and the suffering, the

Lovely green things: Salad Days

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Salad Days is back at the Riverside Studios and is a delightful antidote to cold wet days in London. The story of a young couple who just recently graduated and find themselves entertaining London with a piano is a bit like the Fantasticks with its ever-so-silly plot, but the performances, inspired production and upbeat nature of the show make for an enjoyable, if slightly overlong show. It is 1954 and Timothy and Jane (played by the wonderful Leo Miles and Katie Moore ) leave university to make their own ways in the world. A chance meeting with a tramp brings the couple together as his street piano gives everyone around them an irresistible and unstoppable urge to dance. Meanwhile the police and the establishment want to put a stop to all this fun. Cue singing and dancing and general silliness. The production is from opera company Tête à Tête , and so the singing and musicianship is very good. But the ensemble also show a great sense of comic timing and fun in the proceedi

Theatre: 365

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I wasn't quite sure what to expect from seeing 365 . It played at the Edinburgh Festival to some very positive reviews, but a two hour play about children in care taking their first steps to independence seemed like an unusual way to spend a Saturday evening at the theatre. Since it was based in Scotland I dragged fellow chorister Stephen to see it since he was from Glasgow and I figured he could help with the translation (well of the accents anyway). I was hoping I would get away with nudging him and asking from time to time "Wha-did-he-say? Wha-did-he-say??" This sort of worked... The play unfolds telling the stories of a group of children who pass through a "practice flat" as they gain their first steps to living independently and... adulthood. There is much scope for dream-like sequences, music and movement and these appear throughout and help make what could be a depressing subject a little more insightful and dare I say it... Even entertaining. While at n