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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

The generation gap as an overlong play: Love, Love, Love

Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett is now playing at the Royal Court. It's an epic drama about Kenneth and Sandra who meet in the sixties and start a fiery relationship. They have two children, divorce and then retire. But all is not well and it is the harsh economic realities that become the focus of the play. It has some sort of impact as people were filing out of the theatre Saturday night muttering amongst themselves, "Oh well, we will have to buy our children a house" or "I'm never going to be able to afford to buy on my salary".

A play that tackles the theme of the baby boomer generation as the locust generation is an interesting premise. But at three hours you will leave the theatre wondering if they could have made it shorter and called it Love, Love. As one particularly loud American couple noted in the foyer after the first act, it was fifty minutes that could have been told in five. The characters and more caricatures and there are no real surprises in this piece. Everything is telegraphed well before it happens which becomes tedious and curiously unexpected for an award-winning play.

Of course the cast are engaging and lovely to watch and they try hard to keep things moving. And moving from awful-looking wigs and retro clothing of the 1960s and 1990s to current fashion of 2011. Holding the piece together is the hard work of Ben Miles and Victoria Hamilton as the couple who are into each other and not much else... Sam Troughton has the thankless task of being the moody brother in the first act who gives menacing stares. You could be forgiven it was because Miles is wearing in open robe and has a much better physique... Troughton disappears for the rest of the show and so you do keep wondering whatever happened to him...

All told it is three hours of your life... But there are two intervals of good length and the bar staff are lovely and friendly... Hit back with the gin to keep you going and you'll leave the theatre wondering what the property prices nearby are like... It runs until 9 June.

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