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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

Stuff happens: Love n Stuff

A marriage and a lifetime of memories are the backdrop to a sweet, funny and often surprising comedy that is now playing at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. What is astonishing about this fast paced show is that even with over twenty characters are played by two people - Tony Jayawardena and Rina Fatania (pictured right) - you walk away from the show feeling as if you understand them all and want to see them again.

Bindi and Mansoor are a popular couple on their street in Stratford. But after 45 years of marriage Mansoor has decided to swap Stratford for Delhi, shocking his wife and their friends. While he is waiting for his flight to Delhi at Heathrow Airport, Bindi conspires with their friends to make him stay. It helps that the flight has been delayed for many hours and this is the setup for the piece.

Through a series of flashbacks and interactions, scene by scene this unlikely setup becomes increasingly more believable as the rationale for such a drastic decision taken by Mansoor is revealed. It helps to have a witty script by Tanika Gupta and the wonderful performances by the two leads who deftly switch between a variety of characters of different ages, sexes, sexualities and ethnicity (sometimes mid-sentence).

It is a smart looking production as well. The performance is presented in a studio format which puts the audience right up close to the action, but through a series of simple props and some clever lighting you are transported through the years. There is also an Indian-fused version of "You're the One That I Want" from Grease that is worth seeing alone.

Travel is often about going somewhere rather than the destination and this is a funny and in the end thought-provoking 80 minutes about life and love and the stuff that happens around it. All set against a romanticised version of Heathrow airport and Stratford it is hard to resist. It is selling out quickly and definitely a ticket to grab if you can. It runs until 5 October for now... It would be great to see it perform for a longer run.


Photo credit: Production Photo - Robert Day

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