Relationships are “challenging”, to say the least. Lisa and Sean are in Sean’s apartment, after having met in a pub not long before. Both are hopeful for something exciting, and greater than everyday life to happen. The strangers quickly reveal parts of their hidden selves to try to make the night a meaningful one, but they clash. Lisa is assertive, and Sean is disarmed. The awkwardness of creating new relationships is familiar to us all. We crave deep connections, but finding it can be difficult for most. David Greig’s Being Norwegian is a half-hour sojourn investigating that peculiar dynamic when two meet for the first time, both in search of the same but struggling to find commonality.
The natural discomfort of strange encounters is expressed well, under Alexander Butt’s direction. The eagerness for affirmation and the urgent need to gratify primal urges, libidinal and otherwise, are presented with accuracy and good humour. Butt finds pleasure in the cheekiness of the writing, and works at creating laughs through a varied range of methods, which prevents the show from the threat of becoming a one trick pony.
The characters are colourful and amusing, but they require greater complexity and texture for us to find identification, in order that their narratives and jokes may cut deeper. Katy Curtain and David Woodland are polished performers with strong presences that captivate with ease. Their comedic chemistry is confident, although the sexual energy they manufacture can feel hesitant. The work is often exaggerative in tone, but the players manage to portray a surprising authenticity in a way that only dedicated show folk can. Curtain and Woodland are at home on the stage, and we are delighted to be in their company.