It’s always a pleasure to return to one of my favourite London theatres for post-show events, the Park Theatre, to quiz the theatremakers behind their incredibly eclectic programme – including this long-overdue London premiere for dystopian American play BEIRUT.
‘I can live without sex and feel dead or risk death and feel alive’
Torch has been quarantined in a dark, squalid room on the Lower East Side of New York City, which the locals refer to as “Beirut”, after testing positive for a nameless disease. He passes the time alone, forbidden from contact with the outside world.
When Torch’s girlfriend, Blue, makes the dangerous journey across the quarantine line to be with him, he tries to keep her at arm’s length as they argue lovingly, jokingly, fearfully, bravely and desperately about sex and death. All the while, Torch pleads with Blue to leave before his resistance fails…
Alan Bowne‘s BEIRUT was premiered in the US in 1987 and was adapted into the 1993 television film Daybreak, starring Cuba Gooding Jr and Moira Kelly. Bowne’s other plays include Forty-Deuce, Sharon and Billy and The Beany and Cecil Show. The New York dramatist died from AIDS-related complications in 1989, at the age of 44.
“The marvel of Mr Bowne’s work is the richly raunchy language, tuned to the gritty rhythms of the street. It’s crude yet lyrical; the dialogue sings” – New York Times
This London premiere production of BEIRUT stars Robert Rees and Louisa Connolly-Burnham (well known to TV fans from Wolfblood) and is directed by seasoned Broadway and West End director Robin Lefevre, whose accolades include a Tony nomination and the New York Drama Desk Award for Best Director.
For the post-show Q&A on Thursday 14 June 2018, I’ll be joined by BEIRUT stars Louisa Connolly-Burnham and Robert Rees.