OSCAR at The Crown
  • By Kate Nora
  • |
  • 21st Aug 2023
  • |
  • ★★★★★

There are very few downsides to attending a steampunk musical based on Oscar Wilde’s life, unless you’re a reviewer trying to take discreet notes in the back of the room...

A blend of this year’s Eurovision runner up, Beyonce’s Renaissance choreography, and the Buffy The Vampire Slayer musical episode

The Neon Coven’s original show, OSCAR at The Crown, is dazzling, energetic, and disorientating. With moving stage pieces, face-melting power ballads, and copious amounts of leather, they are taking the Fringe by storm. Sometimes compared to the mind-blowing experience of Six The Musical, which has since transferred to the West End and Broadway, there are some similarities in the production quality and level of talent, but that is where the comparison ends. OSCAR at The Crown is one of a kind. My best attempt to describe it would be a blend of this year’s Eurovision runner up, Beyonce’s Renaissance choreography, and the Buffy The Vampire Slayer musical episode.

On entering the Palais du Variete, the performers are already stationed around the room, mingling with the audience and dancing through the crowd. We’re given three rules to follow: wander wherever we want during the show, take as many photos and videos as we like, and a third rule I missed while posting an Instagram Story. The plot follows a group of outsiders sheltering in an apocalyptic future where, somehow, Julie Cooper from The OC has brought about the end of the world. Their only entertainment is to tell the story of Oscar Wilde through song, dance, and — sometimes — lightsabers.

The entire cast is bursting with talent, taking on sharp choreographed numbers with ease and displaying a seemingly unlimited vocal range during the very catchy original songs. Mark Mauriello brings a manic energy and intense charisma as Oscar, with a singing style that could be compared to The Darkness frontman, Justin Hawkins. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role he originated, seeming uniquely suited to this mixture of flamboyance and vulnerability. There are no weak links in this ensemble, but special mentions go to Elizabeth Chalmers for her emotional closing number and Jamie Cruttenden’s devastatingly sexy moves as Oscar’s lover, Bosie.

If at times the story was hard to follow (why is Julie Cooper to blame for the end of the world?), or the lyrics difficult to distinguish among the cacophony of noise, it did not detract from the overall feeling of jubilance. Get your tickets now before you’re asked to fork over big bucks to see it on a professional stage, where it’s no doubt headed.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Kate Nora

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★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

OSCAR at The Crown

★★★★★
Paradise in The Vault

35MM: A Musical Exhibition

★★★
Assembly Hall

Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen

★★★★
Assembly George Square

Two Hearts: We're Pregnant and the Baby is Music

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sequins, reality television and the complete works of Oscar Wilde: not much else survives in a secret bunker far in the fascist future. Conceived by Neon Coven, a growing non-traditional creative collective, OSCAR at The Crown is an immersive nightclub musical detailing the rise and fall of one of history's most flamboyant figures. 'A party-inducing Rocky Horror transplanted to a 1990s Madonna video... very entertaining' (New York Times).

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