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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

Racing with the clock: Tick, Tick... Boom! @BHTse20

Watching Tick, Tick... Boom at the Bridge House Theatre, a play about young thirty-somethings in 1990 makes you realise that if they were alive today, they would be becoming sexagenarians. The passing of time and the struggles of being creative in New York are at the heart of this piece. Now it's over to a new generation to sing about about Jonathan Larson's anxieties about creativity, composition and getting older.

It's made all the more bittersweet given the composer (and lead character Jon), Jonathan Larson died in 1996, six years after this piece is set. His death was also just before his show, Rent would open and become a big success.

Tick, Tick... Boom!  was initially conceived as a solo work for Larson after his struggles to mount a show he was developing. After his death, it was reworked into a three-hander which is the version that we see today.

While there are many musical theatre references, particularly to Sondheim, what’s interesting about the show is how it depicts the struggle to be an artist. And this production brings out the essence of the piece.

As the lead character Jon, Alex Lodge conveys all the anxieties and brashness of new up and coming composer, while making him incredibly likable.

As his best friend Michael, James Hume gives a sensitive and revealing portrayal.

There's one number in the piece, Come To Your Senses, that stops the show towards the end. Georgie Ashford, as an actor in Jon's workshop, delivers a thrilling rendition of this.

The small space of the Bridge House Theatre gives the piece a surprising intimacy. It's a simple yet slick design and setup. Usually, this show comes with a rock band too.  But stripping back the musical accompaniment allows the cast to harmonise without additional amplification. And it helps make the characters seem more real.

Directed by Guy Retallack, Artistic Director of Bridge House Theatre, and music direction by Jamie Ross, Tick, Tick... Boom! Is at Bridge House Theatre until 27 October.


Photos by Jamie Scott-Smith

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