Dorian: A Rock Musical is based on the classical book ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde.
Bart Lambert opens the production with a melancholy ode to a portrait on his mantelpiece; this is poignant, as the narrative is brought full circle with his own picture. Lambert is flamboyant in his delivery and plays the part well. Lewis Rae performs brilliantly as Basil, and the scene depicting his death is portrayed well by both actors. The perfect mix of love, lust and sensuality.
Fia Houston-Hamilton gives a stellar performance. She is entirely believable as the tragic Sybil Vane as well as dynamic and emotional. She captivates Dorian in her burlesque routine and then the audience in her emotional scene where she declares her love for Dorian, only to have her advances coldly and brutally rejected.
The cinematography within the play is lovely. There is a perfect mix of decadence in Dorian’s apartments and simplicity in some of the other sets. The lighting works beautifully and overall the production feels artistic like it itself is a painting being constructed. The darkness of the alleyway and nightclub sets contrasts beautifully with the lush and luxurious feel of Dorian’s apartment.
All of the cast are strong singers and perform the songs well; however, I feel that they are a little limited by the music itself. Whilst the set, costume, lighting and makeup design is impressive and multi-faceted, the music falls flat. With a title like Dorian: A Rock Musical, I had expected a lot more punch in terms of its musicality. If ever there was a novel that lends itself to rock music it is ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. However, this was neither edgy or aggressive in the way that ‘rock music’ tends to be. It felt to me that it was missing it’s ‘big moment’ song. Luckily, the actors performances were strong enough to carry the musical as a whole.
The final scene shows Dorian confront and destroy himself with the destruction of the painting. Whilst visually this looks powerful, the sound does not match the gravitas of the scene, and the song that accompanies feels anticlimactic. For me, the music does not have enough rise and fall, and feels like the same notes are being repeated over with different lyrics.
Whilst overall this is an enjoyable piece, there aren’t any songs that really stand out to me and I am left feeling that this could work just as well as a standard play.
Dorian: A Rock Musical is available via stream theatre to 12 August 2021. For more information and tickets, see stream.theatre’s website.