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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

Dirty stop out: Dirty Great Love Story @ArtsTheatreLDN

Dirty Great Love Story at the Arts Theatre is casual sex described through poetry. After a one night stand two hopeless romantics then spend the next few years trying to avoid each other. While speaking mostly in rhyming verse.

The only problem with this premise is that if the rhyming isn't particular clever you have a bit of a problem what the point of it all is. Even Pam Ayres is funny. Here it is mostly perplexing and the verse gets in the way of everything else.

The drama and comedy is derived from their different perspectives on their first encounter. From her point of view, he is a mistake who keeps popping up at parties and generally being an irritant. For him, she is perfect.

Things pick up towards the end as the comedy reaches its inevitable conclusion but by this point you might have given up.

As the unlikely couple Felix Scott and Ayesha Antoine keep the momentum and manage to convey meaning out of the flimsiest of dialogue and rhyme.

This was a hit at Edinburgh in 2012, but today it feels dated. Hen nights and drinking in bars all night at clubs seems curious in the era of Tinder.

Perhaps it needs the smaller space (and a shorter running time) to make it feel more naturalistic. Or the theatre isn't the place for two-handed romantic comedies.

Written by Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna and directed by Pia Furtado, Dirty Great Love Story is at the Arts Theatre until 18 March.


Photo credit: Richard Davenport for The Other Richard

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