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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

Lovely repeating spam: Spamalot

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The new, slightly sillier version of Spamalot which has come back to the West End turns out to be almost like an out of season panto. Given the large number of families who were there to enjoy it during half term, perhaps the show really an awfully appropriate and a surefire way for cheap laughs in the West End. In this revised production, a few scenes have been cut and songs trimmed and more topical references have been inserted into the lyrics. It now runs only two hours including the interval, and the end result is that it feels like a snappier and faster paced show. Even if the production values aren't as lavish, the naughty words are not as frequent, or the cast as large, I much preferred this version to its original West End run. The show is loosely based upon (or lovingly ripped off from as the show calls it) the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail , which lampoons King Arthur's quest to find the Holy Grail in the middle ages. But all you really need to know is tha

Phone book reading and star turns at the theatre: Big and Small

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There are people out there that would watch a talented actress read a phonebook. Gross Und Klein is a new translation of Botho Strauss's 1978 play at the Barbican comes close to this experience. Direct from Sydney Theatre Company and headlined by Cate Blanchett it is the unravelling of a woman's life after her husband leaves her. The play starts off well with Blanchett's character overhearing conversations from a hotel window in Morocco. It's a wonderful monologue that brings out many of the themes of the play. But unfortunately it doesn't go anywhere. Is it in her mind? Did her husband leaving her unravel her life? Is she alone? Is she depressed? We don't really know. What follows for the next three hours is a series of scenes about isolation, loneliness, detachment and mental breakdown. Some of them are pretty, some of them creepy. But none offer much insight or are weirdly imaginative enough to sustain interest in this epic. Blanchett runs the gamut of faci