IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Review: Europe, at Donmar Warehouse

15 July, 2019 — By Lucy Popescu

Kevork Malikyan (Sava) and Natalia-Tena (Katia) in Europe. Photo-Marc-Brenner

ALTHOUGH David Greig’s Europe was first staged in Edinburgh 25 years ago, the contemporary resonances are clear. In 1994, the continent was recovering from an economic downturn.

Industry was in decline and unemployment was rife. Certain countries were queuing up to join the EU, others were polarised.

The Berlin Wall had recently fallen and the Cold War was at an end, but the brutal Balkans war caused a refugee crisis that spilled over European borders.

In an unnamed country, Sava (Kevork Malikyan) and Katia (Natalia Tena), two refugees, wait in a deserted railway station for a train that never stops. The officious stationmaster, Fret (Ron Cook), encourages them to move on, but where are they to go?

Fret’s stance softens when he discovers that he has more in common with Sava than he had first thought. Meanwhile, the pair are befriended by Fret’s assistant, Adele (Faye Marsay), whose husband, Berlin (Billy Howle), is worried about growing unemployment in the town.

Racist thugs prowl the streets like wolves in the night. It’s not long before despair turns violence.

Michael Longhurst’s opening play as artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse is an inspired choice and suggests there may be more politically charged productions to come. He is well served by his cast and terrific production standards.

Chloe Lamford’s dynamic set, atmospheric lighting from Tom Visser and a memorable soundscape from Ian Dickinson and composer Simon Slater all contribute to an unforgettable night out.

Until August 10
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