The Events sticks two fingers firmly up at Greek Tragedy. The Chorus are not only relegated downstage after their opening number: they’re killed off. This choir aren’t here to tell the story – they are the story.
The plot is based around the fall-out after a small town church choir becomes the target of a killing spree. The lesbian-vicar-choirmaster, played expertly by Derbhle Crotty, survives The Events and the plot follows her struggle with her faith and the ‘problem of evil’.
The main dialogue is carried by two actors – Crotty remains consistently in character, while Clifford Samuel deftly commands every other. The choir occasionally offer a wooden line or two (they change every night, so while their lack of acting talent is a little grating, it’s absolved in gimmick).
The Events feels depressingly current: following ‘the’ is one of it’s most depressing qualities – there is a sense that The Events are not an anomaly, just as The Politician, The Journalist and The Friend are typified characters. It’s a play that deals with subtleties by Classing Them As Stereotypes, which is relatively effective but that These Conversations are sermonized by religious proxy at times feels a bit ham-fisted.
Yet the audience is not presented with a didactic 90 minutes of moralising, but a vibrant insight into a story that may be Tragically Common but manages to also feel deeply personal. Struggling with her faith, her relationships and her desperation for The Choir to heal – at the expense of pop-covers, much to their dismay, Crotty presents an almost painfully exposed wound. A grief that one shrinks from – just as the audience shrinks from her on-stage masturbation and clap-along moments.
The Events is exactly what fringe theatre is about – an experimental piece of drama that makes you think not only of Big Questions, but also of how brilliant it’s key players are. Yet it feels somehow out of space in the trendy, yet polished, Young Vic. The amateur and the professional jar at every term, and The Events remains, much to its own dismay, a typical piece of ‘problem’ theatre, without ever quite justifying its shortcomings.