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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: Some Girl(s)

Saturday night I caught the play Some Girl(s) at the Gielgud Theatre that stars David Schwimmer. I was a bit wary of a star vehicle but I had heard that it was funny, it was written by Neil LaBute and Catherine Tate also featured in it. The premise was simple, a man about to get married looks up some old girlfriends that he thought he did wrong to say sorry and make amends with them before moving on. This could potentially be quite an interesting premise but as the play moved on I realised that I knew far more interesting people than the four people on stage and I wondered about these people around me tittering away at the scenarios dished up on stage (then again it was a Friends audience so they probably found this cutting edge satire)...

My mind couldn't stop wondering thinking about real-life substitutes for what was on stage. Most recently I know F who is dating two men. One night she calls man #2 and gets a woman who tells her that she has the wrong number. This is the same number she has had stored in her mobile for six months so suspicious she sends a text message to the mobile: "You should start being honest with me and facing up with your responsibilities. How are you going to be when I have your baby next month?" Well F isn't pregnant but this simple little message led her to find out that man #2 is married and she didn't know, and now the wife isn't happy. Now none the woman got to have any sort of smart revenge on Schwimmer's man.

Then there were the scenes that should have been in there like the man leaving because he didn't like his partner having opinions? Now surely one of four strong female characters could have bothered this alpha male character enough for him to just leave them. Also what about one of them being too fat, or not having big enough Brad Pitts? The man is up himself enough to travel around America making amends with ex girlfriends, surely he can have some deeply superficial reasons behind doing so?

Still I guess you do have to accept what you are given by the playwright: a man meets four women in four different hotel rooms and nothing happens. There is a grope and a bit of thigh (Schwimmer's and Lesley Manville's), but not much else. By the time the man started declaring his undying love for the Saffron Burrows I had lost track of the dialogue and I didn't realise what the hell was going on. But I wasn't the only one.

A was fidgeting by halfway through the show. As he had only had an expresso prior to sitting down I initially assumed this was caffeine withdrawal. It was only later I realised he was in pain from the bad script and Schwimmer's poor acting. I then noticed that all around people were moving in their seats, munching on crisps and popping open cans of soft drink. So many people kept getting up and going somewhere it felt more like a waiting room than a theatre. LaBute's plays don't have intervals but this one could have done with one. It would have been good to have a break amongst the repetition. And the Gielgud theatre seats aren't the most comfortable to last 100 minutes without stretching the legs...

Still the four women on stage were great and there were some funny lines. Schwimmer was just his Friends character which was a pity as this role required him to be a bit more of a cad. I would have liked the character to be much nastier but I guess one can't have everything. While most of the audience probably would have been excited if Schwimmer was onstage calling out street names out of the A-Z, I found it would have helped to have surtitles as he was a bit hard to hear for the most part. Amazing to think that this man has made so much money out of nine seasons of a tv show, but that's they way it goes.

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