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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: Complicit

img_0621, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

At intermission at Complicit Monday evening at the Old Vic it was a case of some people being complicit in staging photos featuring a very nice looking celebrity and director. Well some people at least seemed to be unnaturally excited to be in his theatre...

Kevin Spacey is directing this new play by Joe Sutton with Richard Dreyfuss, Elizabeth McGovern and David Suchet in the cast. It is still in preview but early word has been all about Richard Dreyfuss using an earpiece to remember lines. It is earpiece-gate. Now after seeing it I have to sympathise with all the actors as they have some weighty dialogue to deliver at times. It is afterall, another play about life under the Bush administration. And perhaps as a new president is innaguarated, the punters aren't ready to relive the horrors of the past eight years.

The play itself centres around a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist (Dreyfuss) who has to face a Grand Jury and divulge the name of his source on stories about the use of torture and rendition. The story has echoes of the Judith Miller / New York Times case and as the play unfolds it is the subject matter that keeps you hooked. And waiting. For the dramatic. Pauses. To pass.

Well I wasn't bothered by that and I wasn't bothered about Dreyfuss's earpiece either (it could have been a hearing aid as he looks much older than he is). His delivery was fine too. What was a shame was the less-than-convincing relationship between Dreyfuss's character and his wife (McGovern). She seems to have not much to do at times other than act with her back to the audience. Perhaps the big ideas of politics, journalism and power get in the way of developing sympathetic characters. Maybe another week of previews could help smooth things. Or maybe I was just too fussy. At the end of the performance there were more than a few people on their feet applauding.

All told while it isn't a brilliant play, it is still worth catching. It looks great too and so does the Old Vic with its new theatre space and bars. There is Sino Thai or Meson don Felipe nearby for a bite to eat. It all adds up to a rather sensible evening of good dining and modern politics and moral dilemmas if you ask me... It is on until 21 February.

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