Having already seen Betrand and Nasi’s show Eurohouse on its UK tour, I could see the similarities in what they are doing there and here in Palmyra. Both shows examine the nature of violent relationships by using the onstage interaction between the two performers as a metaphor.
Both pieces are Brechtian in their approach; characterised by the constant reminders that we are watching a piece of theatre. It’s got the direct audience address, the interruption by music, and the ‘tickle tickle slap’. In Palmyra, these latter are less subtle than in Eurohouse, though. We go very quickly from plate to broken plate.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this piece came in the pair’s audience interaction, which gave the audience member involved a complex moral conundrum, interestingly only partially undermined by its taking place onstage. It was very cleverly achieved and leaves you pondering after the piece has finished.
Bertrand and Nasi do what they do very well. They foster a connection with the audience which is complex and exciting to be part of, and you can’t help but be affected by the interaction that they show you. The amalgamation of violence and manipulation that they explore is eye-opening and powerful.