Eurohouse – Battersea Arts Centre, London

Creators and performers: Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas

Dramaturgs: Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart and Rina Vergano

Reviewer: Stephen Bates

In the almost two years since Britain’s European Union referendum, the pro-Brexit case has felt off-message in theatre. Seemingly theatre-makers and theatergoers have joined hands in expressing horror at the outcome and there is initial surprise at finding a fluffy piece of light entertainment that bucks the trend.

Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas first presented Eurohouse at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and they are reviving it here for a single performance as part of a double bill with their current show Palmyra. It is a lament for a dying nation, a Greek tragicomedy appearing in the disguise of an hour-long Music Hall comedy double act routine. “Bert and Nasi” could be Laurel and Hardy or Morecambe and Wise – Bert the tall dark one (without glasses) and Nasi the short, skinny bearded one. Both are instinctive comics.

We watch Bert and Nasi, skipping in circles, dad dancing, sharing a pack of M&Ms, performing very basic acrobatics, and soliciting applause with beaming smiles on their faces. The physical comedy is often sublimely funny and there is no hint of any political subtext until more than halfway through. They dance and singalong to My Way (in French), but Nasi tires of the song and asks for it to be changed to Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way. Now the rift appears and their joint dreams of everyone wearing white, standing hand-in-hand around a placid blue lake begin to evaporate.

By the time that Bert demands the return of his M&Ms even after Nasi has eaten them, the dream has already become a nightmare and the show’s metaphor has become clear. Statistics seen on a screen as an epilogue spell it out; this is the story of a proud country being bled to death for the profit of German and French banks. Why would anyone choose to depart from a union that leads to this?

Runs until 12 April 2018 | Image: Contributed

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