The Events, David Grieg’s most recent play, is directed by Ramian Gray and is currently showing at the Young Vic Theatre. The play follows the story of a priest, Claire and a Boy, It is a response to the killings in Oslo, Norway by Anders Behring Breivik.
The piece was unburdened by costume changes, excessive props or set. As you enter the space there is only a stack of blue chairs, with a tea station to your left and a piano to your right. This production was completely focused on the performers and the importance of the story, making the powerful narrative even more concentrated. Derbhle Cotty plays Claire, a priest who runs a multi-cultural and inclusive choir who are victims of this tragic event. Cotty’s emotional portrayal is human and powerful. Her sheer desperation when faced with such loss is of a quality that is easy to relate to. Although her actions are extreme, her motives are so human you can’t help but empathise with her and question how you would begin to deal with her situation. Clifford Samuel, a very charismatic performer, plays “The Boy” as well as many other characters who Claire encounters. His powerful presence helps carry the gravity of the story as well as bringing much needed light relief when playing the writer and Claire’s partner.
The show is held together by a community choir. Each night the actors are joined on stage by a different community choir. The show I watched had the Bloomsbury Choir performing, a strong group of singers with excellent harmonic skills. Having a real community choir on stage as opposed to actors trying to recreate that atmosphere was not only refreshing but added a lot of truth to the performance; making the story even more potent. The choir open the show with an up tempo number which immediately relaxes the audience into the production and, as the piece goes on, they underscore the emotion of the production as well as actually playing Claire’s choir.
The questions this show poses, especially about forgiveness will stay with the audience once outside of the four walls of the theatre. This current and relevant show is a powerful piece of theatre which not only makes you think but also manages to entertain you in the process. 4/5
Review written by Lucy Bishop.
The Events is currently showing at the Young Vic Theatre until Saturday 2nd August. For more information on the production, visit here…