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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

Last look: Sign of the Times

Maybe it is the wrong time to be making light of long-term unemployment (particularly amongst those over fifty and those under twenty-five), but there was something both amusing and depressing about Tim Firth's Sign of the Times, which closed on Saturday night. It is a pity that it didn't find and audience, but maybe a play about unemployment, decline of industries, the loss of ambition or that hideous poster (opposite) just put people off. Well at least there was a respectable audience there to see it off the West End.

The play starts out as a story between Frank (Matthew Kelly), a veteran sign writer and Alan (Gerard Kearns), a work experience student. The tables are turned in the second half when three years later Frank finds himself unemployed and it is Alan who is climbing the executive junior deputy leader trainee at a large electrical superstore. The performances by Kelly and Kearns were funny and engaging and it is hard not to like a characters that wax lyrical about pita bread (always a favourite snack of mine).

The play is based on an earlier one act version of the play, which possibly explains how the two halves do not really gel with each other, and the temptation to leave at the end of the first half. Perhaps running the two together without an intermission and sending the punters home by 9pm so they can go home and think about their careers might work in future...

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