Beirut at the Park Theatre: Press night review by Stephen Vowles

Alan Bowne’s provocative and sexually-charged 60 minute theatrical experience can be likened to lighting a touch paper, seeing the fuse fizzle and then an explosion happens that will take your breath away. 

This is the story of Torch, played by Robert Rees, who has contracted an unnamed and incurable virus so the State authorities have put him in guarded quarantine and despite the risks his girlfriend Blue, played by a very enigmatic Louisa Connolly-Burnham, risks more than her life to be with him. She sneaks past a guard, played by Simon Mendes da Costa, to get to Torch and comfort him – and to procreate. 

This is stern stuff with a strong message about social and political upheaval and the serious threat of an Armageddon. Both actors, to put it simply, ‘go for it’ ricocheting of each other with a passion and intensity that is superb, adding to the disturbing theme that the play has at its heart. This could be yesterday, now or even tomorrow where a society doesn’t cope. However writer Bowne – who himself died of complications related to AIDS at the age of 44 – strives to make the point that we must never give up. Emphatic and strident theatre, sharply directed by Robin Lefevre. A modern and sensational love story where in a near future New York, science fiction becomes science fact.


Photos by Loranc Sparsi.

Beirut runs to Saturday 7th July at the Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park N4 3JP. Box office  020 7870 6876.

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