Black Swan Theatre Company have once again delivered with their latest production of The Events; a captivating yet gritty and confronting piece of theatre.
This play by David Greig, originally a response to a bombing in Norway, premiered in Edinburgh in 2013. It is as relevant 5 years later and is described by Greig as “slippery and difficult” and Director Clare Watson as “setting our moral compass swinging”.
As a community, when we experience a seemingly senseless tragedy there is the tendency to look for someone to blame. A searching desire for explanation and understanding; preferably to discover that the person responsible is our own polar opposite.
This is where The Events takes us, to the aftermath of a terrible happening as Claire (Catherine McClements) tries to set events straight in her mind. McClements, a familiar actor on both stage and screen, wins our empathy and compassion as she portrays the obsessive need of Claire to discover what makes the perpetrator tick.
Alongside McClements is Johnny Carr, who splits his time between the other characters relevant to the story; The Boy, as well as Claire’s partner and The Boy’s family. Johnny appears on stage physically the same for each character but discernibly different in expression and characteristics.
Supported by The Pianist Benjamin Hogan, the cast is both large and small, given the unique addition of a different community choir at each performance. This is designed to result in an ‘audience’ on stage that is experiencing The Events at the same time as the audience mirroring them.
Because the choir receives the script only moments before coming on stage, there is a need for them to read directly from it. This is slightly confusing if you don’t realise this is the case, though a unique way to introduce an additional element into the play.
Geoff Cobham’s set design is the perfect accompaniment to the cast and story, with a certain simplicity creating a palpable sense of bleakness.
From the outset, with the unique entry of the choir and both main characters, and throughout the changing emotions of McClements’ character Claire, audience members are led on a journey of empathy, disbelief and questioning of their own morals and ideals.
Another fantastic offering from Black Swan Theatre Company that – like all good theatre – sends audiences away questioning the world we live in. Season ends 8 July.