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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

On a bad day: Darling of the Day

It is appropriate that the Union Theatre, which has a reputation for fresh perspectives on old shows, has given Darling of the Day, a forgotten musical from the 1960s, its first European Revival. The show with music by Jule Styne ran on Broadway for only 31 performances and attempts to revive over the years have stalled.

Perhaps the reason it has been ignored is that it is just not a fashionable show. The story revolves around a famous artist in Edwardian London who seizes an opportunity to assume the identity of his butler and fade away into an upper working class existence. The score isn't full of memorable songs, but with its take on old love (or rather two more mature leads who get married), the show is intriguing and mostly harmless fun.

This production at the Union probably gets the best out the material in its small spaces and lovely lighting. The cast are also likeable, although the director thanked everyone on press night for their understanding as a dreadful virus had taken its toll on the cast. No doubt as the run progresses and they lose the bloodshot eyes and Lemsip dependency they will get the chance to show the material in its best light.

Shows at the Union Theatre have a nasty habit of selling out quickly so if you are into musical theatre curiosities, this one runs until 20 April...

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