By Lali Gill
Blake Appelqvist, who plays the title character of Dorian in Dorian Gray Naked, is an absolute force. With one of the best male music theatre voices I’ve heard in a long time, and a lot of natural charm and attention to detail, I was glad and relieved that it was him taking me through this show. Unfortunately, his performance was were the positives started and ended for me.
Dorian Gray Naked is branded as a two-hander musical, though Dion Condack (on keys and occasional vocals) is a significantly smaller part. This element of the show bothered me very early on, as it was confusing and unclear whether there was more than one person we should be focusing on and caring about.
The plot is vague, but basically follows Dorian in an imagined afterlife, where he discovers details about his creator, Oscar Wilde’s. The set is quite simple - a grand piano, an old-timey armchair, a makeshift dressing room made with draped velvet. Appelqvist commands the small space beautifully, clearly comfortable, well rehearsed and full of energy. He delivers the admittedly often confusing text and lyrics with a seemingly masterful understanding of their meaning; every sentiment is felt by the audience. He especially moved me in the third musical number of the show; Seventeen. A truly nuanced performer.
I’m sad to say that aside from Appelqvist’s skills, this show fell very flat for me - the audience did not seem engaged, and even though many of the songs had nice melodies (and were beautifully played by Condack), they did seem to blend into one another, often making time pass very slowly.
Dorian Gray Naked felt very much like a first draft. Many parts were ambiguous and confusing, and considering this isn’t a very plot-driven show in the first place, it really dragged.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.