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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: Boeing Boeing

Tuesday evening I got the chance to finally catch Boeing Boeing which has been playing since the start of this year at the Comedy Theatre in West End. It was also a chance for Grant, a fellow Australian just off the boat, to also see his first West End show. I told him that if he got the tickets at the TKTS booth I would treat him to the London Gay Men's Chorus concert next month. This seemed like a fair swap and helps with my duty as a cult chorus member to keep up my ticket selling quota... I was also tempted to say "Mwah" at this point but I keep telling people that it will be a good show... Anything with Johnny Mercer and Donna Summer music in it can't be all bad.

Anyway I digress... As luck would have it, on Tuesday evening there were a few problems with the tube. So after a bit of an underground adventure, followed by a run through Leicester Square, we missed the opening of the show. By being a few minutes late we were prevented by the ushers from taking our seats until the suitable break. And boy did those ushers mean it. They wouldn't let you out of their sight even to go to the bathroom (I had to use the ladies).

Grant's first show was not off to a promising start. While waiting fifteen minutes to get into the theatre down the back corridor that I would later call the "walk of shame", I tried reassuring Grant that the first half of any play is just all exposition anyway. Well last year I spent most of my time sleeping through first acts of a show. I don't think he bought it...

After finally taking seats and settling down after the first scene, it was easy to see why this play has been bringing the punters in. Even with a new cast and Elena Roger off, it is rather silly and quite enjoyable if you like a bit of farce. I always love doors slamming, outrageous foreign accents, and bright coloured costumes so this was my cup of tea. I particularly liked the work of Tracy-Ann Oberman who as a German Lufthansa flight attendant managed to keep it real while being the source of some of the shows biggest laughs. There is not enough outrageous Germans slamming doors and grabbing their bosoms on the West End stage and so she goes some way to fill that gap.

Grant on the other hand was less amused by the farce and pondering more logical questions like, why would Kevin McNally have three girlfriends? The answer lies in the perils of seeing a play with its third cast change I suppose (although I hear the third was better than the second...). And looks aside, the show was still a great night out... Well put together, well written and acted... Even missing the opening scene...

To make up for missing those first fifteen minutes of the play, I did shout Grant dinner afterwards. Wanting to give him the proper gay London experience I took him to Balans Soho where he enjoyed the experience of surly waiters in dark corners with food that tastes real interesting. Well there weren't the laughs of early in the evening but the food was a bit like a joke...

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