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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

Travelin' Through: Broken Toys @CervantesTheatr

Things are a bit different at the Cervantes Theatre when you see Broken Toys. You enter through the upstairs dressing rooms and go down to the theatre. It is a circuitous route, much like the story of Marion. You end up in the same place but have taken a different journey. And like what the old prostitute said. It's not the work but the stairs. And there before you is the theatre, but not entirely as I recall it. It feels like an intimate cabaret venue with tables and a shiny stage.

And there we are introduced to Marion. Marion grew up in a small town during the Franco regime. A place where looking a bit different could make you the subject of gossip and a threat to your life. And despite being assigned male at birth and the attempts of family and father figures, she was an outsider in her town. 

And so Marion sets off on a journey to the city. And in the shadows, she finds a place to hide. But with guidance from drag performer Dorian Delacroix begins to find her voice. Her journey ultimately takes her back to where she came from. 

It's a simple story boosted by engaging performances and a sense of time and place. Hayley Rose gives a nuanced performance as the unsure Marion, who is learning to become herself. So much that you feel like you are with her on this personal journey. As drag performer Dorin, Guy Woolf lights up the stage, especially when performing two cabaret songs in the piece. Miles Molan plays various supporting characters in Marion's life, including her love interests.

Small steps become significant, profound movements. And there's a reminder that politicians are eroding trans rights, such as those who espouse white Christian nationalism—a unique blend of racism, conspiracy, paranoia, wedge issues and a fascination with Russia. While most of it is in the  United States, there are the usual suspects and backers worldwide. A handy reminder that people are working hard to take away the rights and freedoms of others. 

Directed by Raymi Ortuste Quiroga, written by Carolina Román and translated by L. Finch, Broken Toys is at the Cervantes Theatre during Pride Month until 1 July.


Photos by Elena Molina Martínez

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