One of the strengths of David Greig as a playwright is his ability to mine emotion from the mundane. That’s never more clear than in Being Norwegian, produced here by German-based company Entity Theatre e.V. Greig’s two-hander is a love story played out over forty minutes and, without ever revealing too much, the play is very good at establishing two damaged characters and their attraction to each other.
Daniel Beaver and Esther Gilvray have solid chemistry as the two lonely souls, and it’s difficult not to be endeared by their awkward romantic gestures. However, they’re not able to bring that same energy to the darker parts of the play. Moments of frustration and anger feel forced and unbelievable.
Space is also something that works against the production. The Venue 13 stage would ordinarily be fine, but the themes of loneliness and isolation that run through this production are somewhat dampened by the amount of space they have to fill. It stops the audience from properly immersing themselves, hurting its engagement in the process.
Despite its flaws, there’s much to like about this new version of Norwegian Wood. Forty minutes are spent in the company of two good actors playing two very engaging characters, and the ending will leave audiences with a smile on their face.