Park Theatre stages revival of provocative plague drama, Beirut

I can live without sex and feel dead or risk death and feel alive.

The UK revival of Alan Bowne’s Beirut, is set to be performed at London’s Park Theatre next month.

Written in the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS crisis – which claimed the life of the 44-year-old playwright – Beirut is a cutting examination of a society ravaged by a nameless disease.

Although written at a particular moment in history, the play transcends the issues of its time, and at its heart is a dark love story, questioning how society deals with the ‘abnormal’ in a society gone mad with fear and ignorance.

The issues explored are relevant to 2018, when viruses like Sars and Zika are in the news, and with an increasing and inevitable resistance to antibiotics.

The two-hander is directed by New York Drama Desk Award winner, Robin Lefevre and stars Louisa Connolly-Burnham and Robert Rees.

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.

Torch passes the time alone, forbidden from contact with the outside world.

His girlfriend, Blue, makes the dangerous journey across the quarantine line to be with him. Torch tries to keep her at arm’s length and 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….

Louisa Connolly-Burnham was a series regular in the BAFTA-winning hit TV series Wolfblood (CBBC).

Other TV credits include Call The Midwife (BBC), Death in Paradise (BBC), Midsomer Murders (ITV), Outnumbered (BBC) and Little Crackers (Sky1).

Robert Rees originated the part of Andreas on the UK tour of Ladies in Lavender opposite Hayley Mills and Belinda Lang, directed by Robin Lefevre.

Other stage credits include: The Mousetrap (St Martin’s Theatre); The Governess (UK Tour); Fugitive Kind (Donmar Warehouse); All The Fun Of The Fair (Garrick Theatre); State Fair (Trafalgar Studios); Hobson’s Choice (Broadway Theatre) and The Full Monty (Charing Cross Theatre).

Beirut runs on the Park 90 stage from June 12 – July 7.

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