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Theatre review

The Friends of Miss Dorian Gray

The Friends of Miss Dorian Gray

Oran Mor, Glasgow

WE never see Miss Dorian Gray, past or present. Instead, we hear how gorgeous Dorian was, and still is, from her ageing peers - the doting Daisy (Janette Foggo) and the sceptical Dolores (Marcella Evaristi) who endlessly debate how Dorian at 50 has no lines, frown or laughter or otherwise. Evaristi, who also wrote this updated tweak on the Oscar Wilde novella, has scores and scores of lines - for the most part pithy or witty rejoinders to Daisy's blithe assertions that Dorian hasn't had so much as a jab of botox, a squirt of filler or anything lifted.

As a beautician who regularly slathers Dorian with massage oils, Daisy reckons she'd spot any tell-tale scarring. And anyway, Dolores, just look: performance artist Dorian (we're told) is naked, inking her body with an anti-cosmetic surgery manifesto. Out of sight, this protest doesn't come to the fore either: sisterhood is more a matter of sharing high-end face creams.

Woven into all this are sub-plots. Research dermatologist Alan (Tom McGovern) and Daisy's off-stage daughter (a lesbian and recovering coke addict) both suffer because of Dorian's self-willed narcissism while Dolores seems lost, or at least prone to losing things: jobs, men and the plot among them.

Evaristi herself is hard pushed to hold on to the last. Round and round it goes, each spin a vehicle for more quips she wants to unload before it stops on a nod to Wilde and a soppy snog. Foggo and McGovern are staunch, supportive friends to Evaristi's intentions, but maybe casting someone else as Dolores would have allowed Evaristi to stand back and make the cuts, the nips and tucks, that would have been kind to this over-padded Dorian.

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