Eurohouse, Shoreditch Town Hall

Image result for eurohouse, nasi bert

by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Before the actual show of Eurohouse begins, Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutas pitch a comfortable, connected atmosphere between them and audience of the Shoreditch Town Hall. They seem sincerely interested to know where we have all come from, they excuse the DIY nature of the show as Bert will be controlling the lights and sounds, and they make us all hold hands with each other. This feels like a safe, secure space.

This whole schtick is of course part of Eurohouse, which begins with these two genial, relaxed friends make aeroplane arms, as part of a gymnastic dance routine, to Kraftwerk’s ‘Europe Endless’, in matching blue and yellow trainers. What could be more charming?

This dynamic slowly changes over the course of this languidly evolving piece, that the duo plays out effortlessly. At times this feels dreamlike, surreal and illogical, like the moments of storytelling that punctuate sections of the show. Their performance relationship changes from friendly to familial, to sexual and then sadomasochistic. Bert is the dominant force, managing even sound and lights, which is assured by an initial flippant comment at the beginning, but it is later clear that this is in fact contributing to his sinister control that looms over the work. It is a sinister and awkward game of cat
and mouse, that is at times hard to watch.

Nasi’s moment of power plays out wonderfully to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’, but is afterwards stripped and made vulnerable, unable to leave the space and goaded by a delighted Bert. There is clearly a level endurance training that Bert and Nasi have gone through in making and performing this show, by that is mostly concealed by a slick, confidence and comfort with the material.

The employment of repetition, in particular during sequences involving M&Ms, serves the subtle, thoughtful allegorical nature of this show, which is smartly contextualised in its conclusion. It is a work that is both parts moving and stress-inducingly stressful, with action played out again and again on stage lingering in the brain long after the performances end. Bert and Nasi are an exciting couple to watch, and it is no surprise they play so well with audiences and critics alike. There is a subtle, relatable quality in the show’s political agenda that never feels trite or preachy and will no doubt prompt questions of internationality to audiences living in an increasingly closed off nation.

Eurohouse runs through 26 April.

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