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DORIAN THE MUSICAL, 5 Stars

DORIAN THE MUSICAL
Southwark Playhouse
4th July – 10th August 2024

“A lonely boy pines for the world to notice him. When suddenly he becomes an overnight musical sensation, he discovers the dark side of his wish – even when he has everything he has ever wanted, his life is somehow still empty.

This striking piece of new musical theatre skilfully explores the dark side of eternal youth with a modern twist. A fully 21st-century production of the Victorian classic incorporates rock music and social media while remaining true to the bohemian thrill of the original.

This modern fairy-tale follows Dorian Gray, a wannabe rockstar with grandiose dreams who strikes a dangerous bargain to achieve success. Inspired by the classic Oscar Wilde novel, this musical retelling explores the heartache as Dorian faces the prospect of eternal glory which opens a Pandora’s Box of love, lust, and corruption. This show gives the Gothic story a glam-rock twist as the young musician is pulled in every direction by his fans, record producers, photographers – slowly warping his impressionable mind.

Is Dorian cursed? Has he sold his soul – and can he save it? We follow him on the quest for his true identity as he falls further and further into the belief that to love him is to die. Is it too late to change the course of life for “The King Of Black Hearts”, as his adoring fans call him?”

Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars

With a feel of gothic opulence DORIAN the Musical has arrived in full splendour at the Southwark Playhouse.

Packing in song after song the rather simple Oscar Wilde story takes on a new modern twist with a glam-rock concert vibe.

The band are tremendous. Led by the incredibly talented Aaron Clingham they are kept busy and have a glorious full sound without over-bearing the performers. The sound design has some lovely additional effects while balancing out the mix with the performers’ mics.

A simple set design works effectively, placing the attic, where Dorian keeps his picture, on an upper deck above the band.

The lighting design gets a lot out of a fairly simple design. Accenting at the right moments and creating beautiful 3-dimensional shapes in the haze. Text book rear orange and blue from either side expanded to merge with the wash and spot movers. This all works very well.

The costumes are quite lovely. They add to the feel of “money” about  the characters who are artists, musicians and opera singers who apparently have enough of the readies around to splash out on recreational drugs.

The music, book, lyrics, staging all really well done and blended in nicely.

A wonderfully entertaining evening of a British born original musical.

Photo credit: Danny Kaan

As previously announced, the iconic lead role of Dorian will be played by emerging talent Alfie Friedman (he/him) (“The Undeclared War” Channel 4/Peacock; “The Witches of Eastwick” Sondheim Theatre; “Legacy” Menier Chocolate Factory; “Laughing Boy” Jermyn Street Theatre/Theatre Royal Bath).

George Renshaw (he/him) stars opposite Alfie as the hedonistic, monied, deeply charming and compelling Harry Wotton (Theatre includes: JD in ‘Heathers’ at The Other Palace, ‘Roman Holiday’ at Theatre Royal Bath, and ‘South Pacific’ at Sadlers Wells).

Leeroy Boone (he/they) plays Baz Hallward – a deeply moral man, the painter of the portrait, and infatuated with Dorian. (Theatre and ballet includes Hamburg Ballet; Bolshoi Theatre Moscow; Hamburg State’s Opera ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ at His Majesty’s Theatre; ‘Glory Ride’ at The Other Palace; ‘The Addams Family’ at the London Palladium).

Megan Hill (they/them) (Graham in ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ (2022) at the Turbine Theatre for which they received an Offie nomination for Best Newcomer) as Sibyl, Dorian’s first love, who struggles deeply with his rejection. Megan doubles as Sibyl’s avenging sibling Fabian.

Gabrielle Lewis-Dodson (she/her) plays Victoria Wotton, Harry’s wife (Theatre includes Irene Gerlach in the Original UK production of ‘Identical’; directed by Sir Trevor Nunn. Fastrada in ‘Pippin’ at the Charing Cross Theatre; Maisie in The Boy Friend at Menier Chocolate Factory)

Rhys Lambert (he/him) will be featured ensemble and understudy Dorian and Baz

(Credits include: Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)

Television credits include: Young Mickey in Ordeal by Innocence (Mammoth Screen), Young Jamie in Outlander (LBP Outlander Ltd)

Linnie Reedman (she/her) directs and also wrote the book. (Writing and Directing credits include: The Strange Affair of Herschel Grynszpan at The Other Palace and Above The Stag Theatre; Gatsby at Southwark Playhouse and Cadogan Hall; The Song of the Seagull at Menier Gallery Starchild at King’s Head Theatre) and Lady Windermere’s Fan at the Kings Head Theatre. Linne is a Young Vic Genesis Director.

Joe Evans (he/him) brings his talents to the score – Joe has scored shows on the Fringe, in the West End, site-specific venues and internationally. (Composing credits include: Gatsby at Cadogan Hall, Arts Theatre and Southwark Playhouse; The Extraordinary Cabaret of Dorian Gray at Spiegeltent, Southbank; The Song of the Seagull (Menier Gallery); Bel Ami (White Bear Theatre);

Elliot Pritchard (he/they); will act as Associate Director and Movement Director (Theatre credits as Associate Director include: Jules et Jim, Orlando (**** The Guardian, 4 x Offie Nominated including Best Direction), The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary (Mov Dir), (Jermyn Street) The Guilded Splinter (David Glass Ensemble) Waiting For Godot (Theatre Nation, David Glass Ensemble)   Elliot is a Young Vic Genesis Director and Artistic Associate of Jermyn Street Theatre, David Glass Ensemble, Flabbergast Theatre).

Aaron Clingham (he/him) takes the role of Musical Director & Keys. (Aaron has received eleven Off-West End Award Nominations for Best Musical Director and was nominated for a Broadway World Award for The Apple Tree at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre).

LISTINGS 

DORIAN THE MUSICAL 

Location: Southwark Playhouse Borough, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD
Dates:
4th July-10th August 2024 3pm matinees

Press Night: 8 July, 7.30pm 

Time: 7.30pm Mon to Sat – 3pm Tues and Sat

Running time: 2 hours 10 min (including 20 min interval)

Ticket Prices: £10 Pioneers’ Preview (4 July), £16 Previews, ‘All shows Mon to Wed £24 Standard, £20 Concessions. All shows Thu to Sat, £28 Standard, £24 Concessions. This pricing is inclusive of matinee performances’.Box Office Tickets are available from https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/productions/dorian-the-musical

How To Get There: The nearest stations are Borough and Elephant & Castle