search
Barnsley
Batley
Bedale
Beverley
Bingley
Bradford
Bridlington
Brighouse
Castleford
Catterick Garrison
Cleckheaton
Cottingham
Darlington
Dewsbury
Doncaster
Driffield
Elland
Filey
Goole
Guisborough
Halifax
Harrogate
Hawes
Hebden Bridge
Heckmondwike
Hessle
Holmfirth
Huddersfield
Hull
Ilkley
Keighley
Knaresborough
Knottingley
Leeds
Leyburn
Liversedge
Malton
Mexborough
Middlesborough
Mirfield
Morley
Normanton
Northallerton
Ossett
Otley
Pickering
Pontetfract
Pudsey
Redcar
Richmond
Ripon
Rotherham
Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Scarborough
Selby
Settle
Sheffield
Shipley
Skipton
Sowerby Bridge
Stockton-on-Tees
Tadcaster
Thirsk
Todmorden
Wakefield
Wetherby
Whitby
Yarm
York
Europe – In Or Out?
Phil Hopkins, Arts & Travel Editor
Tessa Parr (Adele) and Jo Mousley (Katia). Photography by The Other Richard
My train stopped on the Ukraine Russian border and I felt nervous as the only ‘minority’ travelling into the former Soviet Union. Half an hour later, having been marched off the train and thoroughly interrogated by 15 border guards, I knew what it felt like to be an innocent victim. I had just become one of ‘them’.

And David Greig’s Europe, currently running at Leeds Playhouse, is a brilliant look at those faceless people so often displaced, or discriminated against, through no fault of their own and forced to wander aimlessly through the world looking for a new, welcoming home as they are left rootless.

Set on an obsolete railway station in a small town on the border of an unnamed middle-European state, the play is about relationships, displacement, globalisation and localism, a hotch-potch of prejudice, acceptance and rejection rolled into one.

And it is hard to believe that it was first aired as far back as 1994 as the Balkans conflict consumed the former Yugoslavia, for it is as pertinent today – in the maelstrom that is Brexit and recent mass migration – as it ever was in Greig’s younger years.

The play features two refugees who end up in a place where they don’t feel they belong, and explores both the ramifications for them and those who are forced to contemplate these dishevelled strangers.

Robert Pickavance (Sava) and Joe Alessi (Fret). Photography by The Other Richard
Jo Mousley as Katia is the daughter and Sava (Robert Pickavance) is her father. They are on the move with no where to go, forced to leave behind a past that we know little of but clearly come to understand was not a happy place. They are displaced, searching, wandering.

Also by Phil Hopkins...
Bradford Festival Choral – We Will Remember
Zamboanga - A Very Special Love Affair
Jools Holland To Open Scarborough Spa’s Summer Season
Writing As Your New Career – And Having Fun In The Process!
Rain Man Brings Sunshine To Leeds Grand
To their left and right is suspicion. Berlin (Dan Parr) has lost his job and needs someone to blame for his misfortune, whilst Tessa Parr as Adele sees Katia as a woman she can latch on to and explore the world with.

Sava is the former railwayman who needs a new friend and finds solace in fellow stationmaster Fret, initially hostile, but then a colleague.

This is a pertinent, ageless play in that it embraces ever-present themes in life, humanity, relationships, war and displacement. It speaks of things we have all experienced in varying measure but, more than that, holds up a mirror to the audience and asks ‘which character are you?' forcing everyone to go within.

Also by Phil Hopkins...
Bradford Festival Choral – We Will Remember
Zamboanga - A Very Special Love Affair
Jools Holland To Open Scarborough Spa’s Summer Season
Writing As Your New Career – And Having Fun In The Process!
Rain Man Brings Sunshine To Leeds Grand
Director James Brining brings out the marginal humour in this largely dark play but, more than that, explores complex relationships in a concertina of emotions, taking you on a rollercoaster ride in just two hours.

One minute you feel sorrow, seconds later this turns to hate for Darren Kuppan’s Morocco, the opportunist wheeler dealer, prepared to do anything to spin a dollar or take advantage of someone else’s moral integrity in return for silence.

It is a thought-provoking play that will continue to have a life whilst ever there is conflict in the world, for it speaks of the human condition, transcending language and countries as it shines a spotlight on that simplest of nouns, ‘people’, in all their glory, prejudice, filth and compassion. A production for the open minded; recommended for bigots!
Until November 3rd.

Europe
Leeds Playhouse
23 October - 3 November 2018

Europe – In Or Out?, 21st October 2018, 11:32 AM