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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: Christmas in New York

Sunday night I caught a concert showcasing new music from composers in New York and London called Christmas in New York.

It's great to see new music in the West End since most shows nowadays are juke box collections of classic hits or revivals. The only trouble is that new music doesn't always mean that it is great music. Even though it wasn't necessarily the case, by interval it felt like every song seemed either dour or trite or a bit of both. It would have been fine in an elevator but in a large theatre that was a bit of a problem. And surely only composer Frank Wildhorn could use a lyric call St Paul's Cathedral "ancient"? The British composers who had their new songs showcased tonight were good, but I still couldn't get over the rest. If it wasn't earnest, it was a song that would be good to slash up by.

I guess music theatre was once at the cutting edge, but I wasn't thinking along these lines. I guess nowadays if you want cutting edge you don't go to the theatre. And if Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration, why so many glum songs? Maybe there are not as many fun new Christmas songs nowadays... Pity... Not all of the songs were new music and a few oldies and Christmas classics helped put some needed balance into the evening.

Anyway the music aside, the performances were great and included a number of current West End stars on their night off. Every time Julie Atherton was on stage it was a treat. The same could be said for Daddy Cool star Melanie La Barrie. For the men it was great to see Wicked star James Gillan perform as well.

Here's hoping there continue to be more of these concerts, but lets hope there are more new songs out there that are genuinely funny and not either moaning about divorce or being alone or just general bloody misery... Lighten up everybody!

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