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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

Harsh lighting: Carthage @Finborough Theatre

Carthage, currently playing at the Finborough Theatre lets the audience in on a world of social care, and the circumstances in which the state can take control of your life and take your life.

Its brilliance is in taking what could be depressing subject and making it full of humour and humanity as people try to do what is best. But it also leaves you wondering if at the end is there anything that could be done differently and whether our systems and due processes are the best we really can do as a society.

It is the debut play from Chris Thompson, who drew on his experiences as a social worker over the past 12 years. What is incredible about the play is how finely observed the characters are. There is the boy in care, a jaded social worker, the teenage mother in and out of prison and the prison wardens. There are no judgements on their actions but the consequences are clearly on display for the audience to see.

The cast do well, particularly Jack McMullen as Tommy, the boy who was born in a prison and dies in a prison, who balances his characters tough-guy attitude and vulnerability once he is in prison. We don't know why he is in prison but that's not the point. It is about the process. When the scene that is the focal point of the piece takes place there are no shocks, except for perhaps how routine everything was... right up until the point he dies.

It is also a smart looking and slick production that brings out the cold and clinical nature of prison, procedures, checklists. Fluorescent lights flicker on and off. Plastic chairs and battered furniture.

It is on for a short period at the Finborough Theatre but deserves the buzz and attention that it is getting. Don't miss it. It runs until February 22.


Photo credit: Production photo Richard Davenport

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