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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

Under the influence: Liza on an E

Australian performer Trevor Ashley makes his West End debut this week in his show Liza (on an E) at the Vaudeville Theatre. What could be just another pub drag tribute act is given a lift by an energetic performance, some great singing and classy big band under the music direction of George Dyer.

Ashley created the role of Miss Understanding in the original Australian production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and he has performed a variety of cabaret shows. But here the focus is on Liza Minnelli, which even though he doesn't quite look like Liza (more like a character from Little Britain perhaps), he manages to successfully channel her mannerisms and quirks. Even if you don't know her history as a performer (such as yes she really did do a duet with Donna Summer in the eighties) he covers her career with a variety of songs that makes for an evening that is is a lot of fun.

The songs were either recreations of songs Minnelli has made famous throughout her career, or slight modifications (written with Ashley's collaborator Dean Bryant) that predictably reference drugs, alcohol or marrying gay men. If you have seen Minnelli perform you might think it is not quite the same thing, but equally at times you will forget it is a bloke up there... People were having a hell of a time with the antics and great music.

It's on at the Vaudeville Theatre until Saturday and look for offers online. Hopefully we will be seeing more of Trevor Ashley either in the West End or on the Cabaret scene in future.

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