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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: The Flying Karamazov Brothers

Friday night, half way through the second act of the Flying Karamazov Brothers when lead Karamazov (Paul Magid) was trying to say something funny, a lady in the second row staggers to her feet and interrupts saying for all to hear, "I just wahnt to saye that theeeshow is aabsolutely wahnderful". At this point Magid offers to give her a kiss. She initially declines announcing that her shoes are off (prompting the audience begin wondering if she was the owner of the shoes that were offered up for juggling in the first half of the show). Eventually she gets up, staggers up to the stage, gets a kiss and staggers back to her seat. It was random acts of humour throughout this show that made it all somewhat worth the while.

The Flying Karamazov Brothers have been performing for years and this time around have brought their vaudeville-like show to London (appropriately to the Vaudeville theatre). You may be familiar with their appearances in an episode of Seinfeld, or further back as a bunch of the misfits in the mildly missable 80s movie Jewell of the Nile.

Here they present a show of juggling, lame jokes and general silly business. It is Marx Brothers meets Monty Python (and possibly the Muppets going by how they look). While not everything hits the mark, it is such a good natured show that it is hard not to like. The jokes are at the level of, "We're doing this without a net!" "Yeah we forgot to invite her!" But young people (and drunk women) particularly seemed to enjoy it and they surely should be able to get children in by the busload as school winds down and teachers are looking for something to do to fill in time...

In the first half there is their scene where "the champ" attempts to juggle three items brought in by the audience. If he is successful the audience gives him a standing ovation, and if not, he gets a pie in the face. If you are going, it would be advisable to bring something sloppy or mushy for this (the best we could come up with as an audience on Friday evening was wet umbrellas and the shoes). As he successfully juggled a sponge cake, tomatoes and a pineapple we had to give him a standing ovation. The rest of this half could probably do with an extra song and shorter sketches. But you get the feeling they are still trying and testing what London audiences go for.

The second half is where things seemed to flow a lot better and the segments of jazz juggling and juggling with the nine objects of terror (which included a plastic fish which didn't seem that terrifying) worked really well. There are loads of juggling and vaudeville acts around these days but once you get into their silly little world it is fun enough and at ninety minutes including interval it doesn't overstay its welcome either. There are matinee and evening performances on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and good seats will be found at the usual discount places too.

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