Ovalhouse, London – until 29 April 2017
I went through a period of being obsessed with Greece’s bailout referendum in 2015. It wasn’t because I was a politics geek but mainly to do with my crush of Vanis Varoufakis, the country’s economy minister who was articulate and photogenic.
How quickly we forget about ‘Grexit’ where there was a real risk that Greece would be forced out of the EU against its will because of its perceived inability to budget. Brexit made me forgot all about Greece (as did Varoufakis’ resignation following the referendum) but FellSwoop Theatre have given us a stark and at times unsettling reminder of Greece’s relationship with EU.
Two performers; Bertrand Lesca (French) & Nasi Voutsas (Greek) take on us on a shifting journey. At first we are all encouraged to say hello to the strangers in the audience (Leon and Charlotte, wherever you are it was lovely to meet you) and hold their hands. So far, so lovely. The show soon takes a dark turn. Bertrand is offering Nasi M&Ms but then wants them back. Nasi has eaten the M&Ms and has no way of returning them. Bertrand brings him a bucket. Bertrand asks the audience to choose a song he plays ‘Comme d’habitude’ regardless. It is any wonder Nasi breaks down when his clothes are taken from him.
It is a stunning idea, cemented with visualisation from 1996 Olympics. It is a brief but intense look at how the relationship between Greece and Europe broke down and at times it shifts in tone so suddenly it is very uncomfortable. Lesca and Voutas do not want this to be a laugh a minute show. It has a story to tell, a story that has been lost.
The highlight is the performances. Voutas initially plays Greece as the standard low-status member that every double act but as Bertrand’s performance gets more dominant, sadistic yet oozing in French charm the relationship becomes extremely uncomfortable to watch but for people who like their theatre to have more thought and more bite then this is a great show.
The main issue is that it feels too slow, when I came out there was an audience member explaining it to their friend (“M&Ms are money) and I am not sure if a British audience is expecting some Eurotrash-esque show so seemed extremely uncomfortable and at times extremely bored. It is a shame that the energy they have on stage doesn’t always come to the audience.