Being Norwegian

Being Norwegian is a play that follows Sean and Lisa as they talk throughout the night, gradually getting to know each other and growing as confidants. It’s billed as being “a tender and funny one-act play, from acclaimed Scottish playwright David Greig” so it’s fair to be excited about it. Unfortunately the production doesn’t manage to live up to any of the hype – though there are funny moments it’s unclear whether any were intentional.

It’s not clear what Axon theatre hoped to achieve from staging this, frankly, uninspiring play

To be brutally honest, it’s not clear what Axon theatre hoped to achieve from staging this, frankly, uninspiring play. David Greig is an excellent playwright but Being Norwegian is definitely not his strongest. In fact, one is left with the feeling that they just decided to put on a play for the sake of it and thought “This will do.” I’m sure there are multiple valid reasons as to why they chose this play and that they thought long and hard about their aims and intentions, but none of them have come across in the lacklustre performances.

Actors Tom Hurley and Sarah Bennington seem to suffer from a distinct lack of direction, rendering much of the dialogue incredibly awkward to sit through. Though there’s a lot of subtext to be played with, they’re never given a chance to shine. Neither of the characters seem to listen to each other, with Bennington providing a lifeless litany of what “being Norwegian” means, which just turns into a list of national stereotypes, as Hurley awkwardly shuffles around the stage not knowing how to react. It’s difficult to tell if this dynamic was a decision or not by the director, Peter Scott, and it’s a shame because there are moments - albeit fleeting ones - in which the actors show potential. This is compounded by the fact that the production has nothing else to rely on but the quality of the script, actors and direction – none of which seem to be on the same page. The result leaves very little idea of what “being Norwegian” actually means.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Having just met at a nearby pub, Lisa and Sean stand awkwardly in his cluttered apartment. They don’t know a thing about each other, but a curious attraction has pulled them together. As they begin to reveal pieces of their history, Sean becomes increasingly unsettled. Can he trust this beautiful stranger with his innermost secrets? 'Being Norwegian', she says, 'We know how to live with the dark'. A tender and funny one-act play, from acclaimed Scottish playwright David Greig. Transferring from the Cardiff Fringe, Axon present their acclaimed production of Being Norwegian for a limited late-night run.