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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: Dying For It

Liz White and Tom Brooke in Dying For It

In a week of playing theatre catch-up, Friday night I managed to catch Dying For It which is based upon Nikolai Erdman’s once-banned satirical comedy The Suicide. It is a sort of silly story about a man who is propelled into celebrity for announcing he was going to kill himself and pokes fun of all sorts of people in society - particularly post-revolutionary Russian society but I was wondering whether there are any analogies for Islington society as well... I thought there were a number of similarities - artists, the intelligentsia, officials, ideologues, pragmatists, sex workers, unemployed - you get 'em all there...

It is always fun to watch a silly play with a silly person. And that I did by seeing it with An. An loves farces and I think I have seen more farces with him than anybody else and so we were able to laugh out loud at double entendres about socialistic uprisings and sex and the like. Actually we do that anyway (the double entendres not the socialism) so going to a play full of it was as good an excuse as any.

All told the play was great with some very witty lines. The cast were all excellent and particularly Brooke (as Semyon) who played dead so wonderfully well. The set also was also the usual fabulous Almeida standard and added to the lunacy. And you can't have a farce without some door slamming and running up and down stairs so the set worked very well for that...

Oh and there was a great scene about learning to play a tuba. After much struggle (as they are not cheap and he is unemployed) Semyon finally gets a tuba, only to discover that he also needs a piano to help with learning musical scales. Chatting after the play to a flautist he also mentioned that he recently bought a piano to help with his scales. And there I was thinking that was funny. Those woodwind and brass players must have a hell of a time...

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