Kevork-Malikyan (Sava) and Ron Cook (Fret) in Europe. Photo credit: Marc Brenner
Faye Marsay’s Adele trainspots from the roof of the station where she works, longing to visit the romantic, picturesque places Europe is most known for. She falls in love with Katia, a refugee traveling with her father (Kevork Malikyan) to escape from her now non-existent country. Natalia Tena as Katia beautifully intertwines her hostile nature with a deep sense of caring for those around her, even when she feels her actions are only ever self-interested. Marsay and Tena’s scenes are the most captivating, carrying with them a sense of new romance that’s traveling in the same direction, but for two very different reasons. Lovely too are the moments between Malikyan and the station manager, Ron Cook, who bond over a passion for the railway and a strong sense of dignity.
Less compelling are the scenes between Berlin, Adele’s husband, and his friends Horse and Billy, who have all recently lost their jobs. Set in the town bar Calypso, they feel somewhat halted, resembling interjections that are never fully developed, a sense only emphasised by the bar stools being wheeled on and off the stage. As Billy chooses to leave the small town in hopes for a better future, Horse and Berlin grow angrier and target their rage on recent immigrants. It culminates in a violent and hateful crime that marks the town forever.
Faye-Marsay (Adele) and Natalia Tena (Katia) in Europe
Greig’s writing is nuanced and articulate, although occasionally tries to do too much. Each act begins with a chorus voicing the concerns of the town, but these scenes jar with the tone of the rest of the piece. And at the play’s most climactic point, Berlin suddenly speaks directly to the audience, clunkily explaining the importance of that night on the town’s history.
Still, Greig’s Europe is a considered and at times profound meditation on the myth of European unity. It’s a smart and clearly pertinent revival of an intricate play that unpicks what ‘Europe’ means to its inhabitants, a question that is undoubtedly at the forefront for today’s audiences.
|What||Europe, Donmar Warehouse review|
|Where||Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
20 Jun 19 – 10 Aug 19, 7:30 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£10 to £40 (+ booking fee)|
|Website||Click here to book via Donmar Warehouse|