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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

Gays play: On Tidy Endings and Safe Sex

Two short plays by Harvey Fierstein show that at least the western world has come some way when it comes to discrimination and attitudes towards HIV and AIDS. Even if you're not sure whether you should be laughing at their message.

The first of the two pieces, Safe Sex, is a one-joke piece about a lover who is obsessed about making sure that all the sex he engages with his partner is on a list of safe sex practices outlined in a leaflet.

From opening with a terrifically frightening sexual dance (pictured),  it descends into a predictable series of character neuroses and foibles. Perhaps if the chemistry between the two leads was as strong as their opening dance it might have been more engaging.

After a short break, things get much better with On Tidy Endings, where the ex-wife and the ex-lover have to tied up loose ends following the death of the man they both loved. Looking at the piece from the present day where gay marriage is legal and anti-discrimination laws exist, it is quite a thought provoking piece to think how far things have come, and also the challenges and discrimination that still persists. It tends to veer towards a predictable melodrama, but a combination of the performances and the story make it intriguing.

People interested in gay history might enjoy these two pieces from a time that people have forgotten with rising rates of HIV and chemsex.

The two plays are at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Soho until 17 May. Tickets are from £10.

The production is also supporting the Make A Difference Trust and you are given the opportunity to make a donation at the end of the show.

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