Review: The Big Idea – PIIGS, Greece – Royal Court via YouTube

There are no Greek islands left, they’ve all been bought up at knockdown prices by the Qataris”

The Greek iteration of The Big Idea had a rather distinct character, mixing the ruminative quality of Andreas Flourakis’ I Want A Country with the more absurdist bent of Mr Brown, Mrs Paparigopoulou and the Interpreter by Alexi Kaye Campbell. And perhaps with an abiding feeling that Greece has borne the brunt of the European financial crisis, watching these plays felt less enjoyable and rooted in a greater seriousness, a weight which it didn’t always manage to pull off. 

I Want A Country worked better, its lament for a homeland gone awry, for the security of the past to return and envelop the three characters in home comforts, is a delicately persuasive one and Flourakis laces the bittersweetness with occasional laughs to ensure the tone never gets too mordantly dark. Alexi Kaye Campbell – himself a Greek expat – fared less well for me, trying to find a more overtly humourous angle on the nightmare of unwanted bureaucracy being imposed on an entire nation.

But in having an archetypal Britishman abroad firing a Greek worker through the medium of an opinionated interpreter, the pocket drama felt a little close to the bone for me, it’s a while since I was myself made redundant so I don’t think I was being overly sensitive. And the way in which Kaye Campbell reached for a late tragic note sat at odds with the almost farcical humour that came before with the horrifyingly believable legalese, full of counterproductive twists and turns, the constricting small print on the bottom of the offer for help that has been extended to this ailing nation.

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