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You can’t stop the boats: Sorry We Didn’t Die At Sea @ParkTheatre

Sorry We Didn’t Die At Sea by Italian playwright Emanuele Aldrovandi and translated by Marco Young, has made a topical return to London at the Park Theatre after playing earlier this summer at the Seven Dials Playhouse. In a week when leaders and leaders in waiting were talking about illegal immigration, it seemed like a topical choice . It also has one hell of an evocative title. The piece opens with Adriano Celantano’s Prisencolinensinainciusol , which sets the scene for what we are about to see. After all, a song about communication barriers seems perfect for a play about people trafficking and illegal immigration. One side doesn’t understand why they happen, and the other still comes regardless of the latest government announcement / slogan .  However, the twist here is that the crossing is undertaken the other way. People are fleeing Europe instead of escaping war or poverty in Africa or the Middle East. It’s set sometime in the not-too-distant future. There is a crisis causing p
Theatre: A patch of blue

Last week I decided to claim credit for F voting for the first time (it was all that incessant chatting about political processes that did it), so this week I taking credit for getting F and A to the Kings Head Theatre to see A Patch of Blue. I pointed out that apart from being a culturally enriching outing, we would be supporting one of the few surviving theatre pubs in London, before Wetherspoons or some other antiseptic chain moved in and took away its character and turned the theatre space into a restaurant… Well it may not get like that just yet, but the theatre's long-term future is hardly certain.

Anyway back to the play. It was originally a book, then a film with Sidney Poitier and Shelley Winters about a blind girl living in an abusive home meeting a black man and falling in love. Oh and it is the Deep South (America). The end result wasn't as predictable as all the situation might have alluded to however. The acting was also terrific which helped give everything some credibility…

The staging wasn't bad for the confined space of the theatre either. Although there were two issues I had:

  1. There was an extended sequence at the beginning where the blind girl is raped. It probably wasn't necessary to inflict the small audience with two minutes of screaming and rape… but we got it anyway…
  2. Towards the end of the first act, a clap of thunder which was part of the story had me jumping out of my seat and exclaiming "Jeeeezus", much to the amusement of F and A. In a desperate effort to regain some dignity, I tried to explain that I was just getting caught up in the drama but they didn't buy it.

Leaving the theatre I asked F and A if they were glad they went. There was general agreement that it was worth the effort, although F thought that the poster made the lead far more attractive than he was in real life. I disagreed suggesting that if there was a problem it was because he wore the same shirt and trousers throughout the play and we didn't get a good perspective of his range. A commented that as she prefers café au lait men more anyway she wasn't in a position to make a final call on this…

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