Review: Dorian A Rock Musical, stream.theatre

A strong lead performance from Bart Lambert impresses in this streaming Oscar Wilde adaptation, but Dorian A Rock Musical lacks a real sense of identity

“Music is what I want now”

In a development that may well have made Oscar Wilde chuckle, daptations of The Picture of Dorian Gray are never too far from our stages and screens. We’ve had a streamed reinterpretation already this year but as its name might suggest, Dorian A Rock Musical also modernises the text but puts a musical spin onto the tale.

In some ways, Dorian A Rock Musical is a bit of a misnomer, Joe Evans’ score draws its influences from a much wider musical palette than solely rock and that’s probably to its advantage. Although undoubtedly gothic to its very soul, there’s an appealing openness to much of the music here with its plentiful harmonies, which marries well with lyrics that wittily incorporate the occasional Wildean bon motContinue reading “Review: Dorian A Rock Musical, stream.theatre”

Review: The Importance of Being Earnest, Newcastle University Theatre Society via stream.theatre

Newcastle University Theatre Society stage an online production of The Importance of Being Earnest in aid of Acting for Others

“You’re quite right in making some alteration”

Although theatres in England are starting to reopen their doors, the impact of the lockdowns is still being disproportionately felt by many in the arts community. So it is fantastic to see people still grabbing the reins to come up with fundraising efforts for Acting for Others, the theatrical charity whose network of member charities offering financial and emotional assistance and support to those in the entertainment profession.

To that end, students from Newcastle University Theatre Society have mounted a production of The Importance of Being Earnest, available to watch online now on stream.theatre, performed and filmed in an empty Sunderland Empire. Directed by Adam Kinneen, he has added a framing device which introduces Oscar Wilde himself as a character, biographical snippets contrasting starkly with the intrinsic lightness of his play. Continue reading “Review: The Importance of Being Earnest, Newcastle University Theatre Society via stream.theatre”

News, such theatre news!

It’s so exciting to have an inbox full of theatre announcements – here’s a recap of some of the ones that are most piquing my interest at the moment

The Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield and The Dukes, Lancaster announce the full cast of their digital co-production of The Importance of Being Earnest by Yasmeen Khan.

The full cast is Gurjeet Singh (Ackley Bridge, Wuthering Heights), Tom Dixon (Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet), Mina Anwar (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Thin Blue Line), Nikki Patel (Trojan HorseCoronation Street), Zoe Iqbal (Finding Fatimah, Ackley Bridge) and Melanie Marshall (Jane Eyre); with appearances from finalist of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Divina De Campo, star of stage and screen Paul Chahidi, award-winning actor, comedian and writer Hugh Dennis, actress Harriet Thorpe (Absolutely Fabulous) and  comedian Sindhu Vee. Continue reading “News, such theatre news!”

Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Alfred Enoch and Russell Tovey enliven a digital take on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

“People say there’s no dark side to social media”

What A Carve Up! proved a highlight of the theatre industry’s pivot to online work over the last year, the creative team really probing into what could be done differently, more effectively, through the digital medium. So it is little surprise to see them reunite to tackle Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

A co-production by the Barn Theatre, Lawrence Batley Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre, Oxford Playhouse and Theatr Clwyd, directed by Tamara Harvey and written by Henry Filloux-Bennett, Wilde’s tale is lifted wholesale into the 21st century and immersed in the world of social media. For what is a modern-day equivalent of a portrait if not one’s Instagram profile… Continue reading “Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray”

Teaser images from The Picture of Dorian Gray

First look images of the upcoming digital adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray have been released today.

The contemporary take on the Oscar Wilde classic brings the Faustian tale kicking and screaming into a world of Instagram, Facebook and dating apps and stars Fionn Whitehead (DunkirkBlack Mirror: Bandersnatch) in the title role of Dorian Gray. Continue reading “Teaser images from The Picture of Dorian Gray”

News: full cast announced for digital Dorian Gray

The co-producers of the upcoming digital adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray have today announced the production’s full casting and creative team.

Joining previously announced Fionn Whitehead, in the title role, are Alfred Enoch as Harry Wotton, Joanna Lumley as Lady Narborough, Emma McDonald as Sibyl Vane and Russell Tovey as Basil Hallward with Stephen Fry as the Interviewer. Continue reading “News: full cast announced for digital Dorian Gray”

Assorted January news

Photo © Pip

Fionn Whitehead, star of Dunkirk and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, will take on the titular role in an upcoming contemporary digital adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, from the team behind the celebrated digital production of What a Carve Up!, is set to push the theatrical form like its predecessor; utilising elements found in radio plays, films, documentaries as well as traditional theatrical techniques.

Set in a profile pic-obsessed, filter-fixated world where online and reality blur, influencer Dorian Gray makes a deal. For his social star never to fade. For the perfect self he broadcasts to the world to always remain. But as his mental health starts to decline, as corruption and murderous depravity start to creep into his world, the true and horrific cost of his deal will soon need to be met.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, which runs for two weeks from 16-31 March, will reunite Henry Filloux-Bennett, writing the new adaptation, and director Tamara Harvey. Continue reading “Assorted January news”

June theatre round-up

I might have taken a break from reviewing in June, but I didn’t stop going to the theatre – I had too many things already booked in. Here’s some brief thoughts on what I saw.

Betrayal, Harold Pinter
Shit-Faced Shakespeare – Hamlet, Barbican
The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Cheek By Jowl at the Barbican
Somnium, Sadler’s Wells
Les Damnés, Comédie-Française at the Barbican
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Theatre Royal Bath
Blithe Spirit, Theatre Royal Bath
The Hunt, Almeida
Present Laughter, Old Vic
Europe, Donmar Warehouse
The Deep Blue Sea, Minerva
Plenty, Chichester Festival Theatre
Pictures of Dorian Gray, Jermyn Street
The Light in the Piazza, Royal Festival Hall
J’Ouvert, Theatre503
Hair of the Dog, Tristan Bates Continue reading “June theatre round-up”

Review: The Importance of Being Earnest, Tara Arts

Two Gents reimagine Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest like never before at Tara Arts

“I remembered the line”

In so many ways, it is a real shame that it is only now, after Classic Spring’s year-long West End Oscar Wilde season, that we’re seeing theatre companies finally showing some real invention and daring in reinterpreting his work. For all their star-studded casts, these were largely faithfully traditional renditions that did little to stir any real excitement.

To be fair, these aren’t plays that lend themselves easily to being lifted out of their very specific social milieu. But equally, it is difficult to get too enthused about endless identikit revivals. Which is a long-winded way of saying I was most excited to go see Two Gents and Tara Arts’ production of The Importance of Being Earnest which remakes the show as a two-hander for 2 British-African women. Continue reading “Review: The Importance of Being Earnest, Tara Arts”

Review: The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville

Sexed-up rather than subtle, I can’t help but be won over by this fresh take on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville Theatre

“I hope you have not been leading a double life…that would be hypocrisy”

I find it increasingly hard to get too excited about the prospect of Oscar Wilde these days, hence having been a rare visitor indeed to Classic Spring’s year-long residency at the Vaudeville. My problem is that, as with Noël Coward’s work, there’s an insistence on the specificity of its staging which means it is far too easy to feel like you’ve seen it all before, silk pyjamas, bustles, handbags, the lot. So the notion that Michael Fentiman’s The Importance of Being Earnest has ruffled a few feathers by daring to do something different, plus the kind of casting that I could never resist, meant that I had to see for myself.

And ultimately, there’s something laughable in the idea that there’s only the one way to do Wilde. It’s more that ‘certain people’ prefer it done the way they’ve always seen it done, which is all well and good (if soul-destroying) but to bemoan a lost art because someone is finally ringing the changes? Shove a cucumber sandwich in it mate. What’s even funnier is that you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference really, it’s not as if this production is set in space, or it’s being mimed, or it’s been directed in a…European way. It has just had a good shaking down, the dust blown off the manuscript, the cobwebs swept from the velvet curtains, and an enjoyable freshness thus brought to proceedings which are sexed-up rather than subtle. Continue reading “Review: The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville”