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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: Whistle Down the Wind

Monday night I saw Whistle Down the Wind. It was my first Andrew Lloyd-Webber show I have seen since I saw an amateur version of Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1990s. It is based on a movie that was set in rural England where a group of children find an escaped convict and who are convinced he is Jesus Christ so I figured there was a theme running here. Ok it isn't art, but its something the home counties love (judging by the audience demographic around me).

For anyone who has seen the Hayley Mills film you probably have a better chance of understanding the plot, although you may be left wondering why they moved the story to 1950s America. There is one thing that the British do pretty lousy and that is American accents so I thought that was a pity. Had they left the story in Britain one could have imagined a pantomime-type reaction from the audience when the cops are looking for the escaped convict along the lines of "He's in the barn!" Alas the show takes itself all too seriously to have any sense of fun, and it was hard to have much sympathy for any of the characters (always a danger for a musical).

Still there are some nice numbers involving hoards of children singing, or was that a backing track? I guess if it sounds too good to be true (i.e. children in time to complex music and in key) it surely has to be. It is also hard to tell what music was real with five keyboards / "orchestra makers" in the pit, but hey that's the trend in the West End nowadays… The title song is in danger of entering the standard repertoire for Christmas time and other cheesy occasions but I guess we all need some cheese every now and then.

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