Closing the spring-summer 2018 season in PARK90, Beirut explores a fleeting encounter between two lovers, now divided by a quarantine enforced to protect a future society from a terrifying Sexually Transmitted Disease.

Beirut centres on Torch, who has been quarantined in a dark, squalid room on the Lower East Side of New York City, which the locals refer to as “Beirut”. Torch has tested positive for a nameless disease, and so he is forced to pass 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…

Beirut’s rich and raunchy language is intertwined beautifully with the grit and rhythm of the street, as Alan Bowne’s script sings of its crude subject matter. Written in the 1980s at the height of the AIDS crisis (which the playwright died of at 44 years old), 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 particularly relevant to 2018, when viruses such as Sars and Zika are prominent, and with an increasing and inevitable resistance to antibiotics.

Beirut will be directed by Robin Lefevre, who has previously won the New York Drama Desk Award for Best Director and is a Tony Award nominee.

Age Recommendation: 14+

Latecomers may not be admitted.

Dramas have a rich history in the West End; find out more about plays in London.

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