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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

Let the river run: Hiraeth @sohotheatre

Some people are rocks. Some people are rivers. Some people can be rocks in rivers. Some people can be rocks just nearby the river. And so on and so on and so on.

These important observations are about as deep as things get in Hiraeth. The word is Welsh for longing. But notwithstanding the flimsy premise the piece is a sweet-natured, whimsical account of  one woman’s journey from a small Welsh farming town to London.

It has just concluded its week long run at the Soho Theatre but given the popularity of the show and the appealing performances, I suspect it won’t be the last time London audiences will get to see it.

The star and co-creator of the show Buddug James Jones comes from  five generations of Welsh farmers. But her desire to leave and forge a career in art is the sense of conflict.

Not much happens in the end. She moves to London and finds that being Welsh and from a small community a bit of an outsider. She is unlucky in love but amongst all the hardship she realises that she can’t go back. Like a river she has to keep moving.

Along the way you will get to sing / shout you are a rock (or a river) and get the chance to eat Welsh cake.

Co-creator Max Mackintosh has unenviable task of taking on all the characters in Jone’s life; her parents, grandmother, boyfriends (Welsh and Spanish) and other random people. He also gets to play the guitar. A deadpan David Grubb accompanies the two with violin and drums and obligatory comic interactions.

The show has been to Edinburgh and has the feel of that fringe sub-genre of solo shows where the performer inflicts their life story on an unsuspecting audience. A greater insight into life in Wales might have helped. Going by this piece there isn't much to life in Wales other than getting drunk and pushing over porta-loos. You may be forgiven for thinking the departure was a no-brainer. But the sweet natured performances make the piece a bit more special. And the Welsh cakes handed out at the end of the show...


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