Thor and Loki: Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Ragnarök approaches. The endless war between the Norse gods of Asgard and the giants of Jotunheim is coming to a head. Only two people stand between them, and the end of the world. Thor, son of Odin, who spends his days writing poetry and playing the cor anglais, and Loki, daughter of Laufey, who just wants to go on picnics with the other giants. Not the typical retelling of the apocalyptic myth, Thor and Loki brings unrelenting laughs, brilliant tunes and a surprisingly relevant message to the ancient tale.

The story is sharp, witty and refined. Thor and Loki deftly handles a hilarious plot alongside a nuanced message. From refugee humans fleeing the gods’ wrath, to the toxic masculinity within the giant army, Harry Blake’s script explores a new side to this often-told story. The overall effect is a script that feels innovative without losing any of the thrill of the original myth.

Every performance in Thor and Loki is notable for its striking comedic strength. Blake’s deadpan performance of Thor, and Alice Keedwell’s impassioned Loki ensure that the audience is strongly invested in the protagonists’ journey. Bob Harm’s portrayal of Odin channels Anthony Hopkins with verisimilitude while adding in his own superb comic timing. Laurie Jamieson’s pantomimic turn as the giant Thiassi is a joy to watch. Julie Jupp’s good-hearted Laufey and Boadicea Ricketts’ Baldr and oracle round out the consistently excellent cast.

It is truly remarkable that when not onstage, the remaining actors double up to form the band. It was a unique sight to see the performers playing near to a dozen instruments collectively. The tunes themselves were fun and catchy. Taking clear inspiration from other musicals, the audience is treated to a variety of styles, including a particularly memorable jazz piece featuring some highly skilled tap dancing. The set design and costuming should also be commended for creating some genuinely beautiful pieces.

Thor and Loki is one of the tightest, funniest and freshest new musicals I have seen. It is bonkers to the extreme, but with an uplifting message. All fans of musical theatre, mythology and folklore are sure to enjoy this one of a kind show.

 

Thor and Loki runs until the 26th of August – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/thor-and-loki

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Jonathan Barnett

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