Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Junkyard Gods.

It's Level 2 Physical Theatre's turn in the theatre this week with Junkyard Gods a contemporary adaptation of the ancient Icelandic story of Balder, the God of truth and light, killed by his blind brother Hod, under the malevolent influence of the trickster Giant Loki. I caught this afternoon's matinee.

The show was full of playful ideas and the theatre had been turned into a huge playground with trap doors open and a scaffold tower to climb to enable the actors to move freely between the nine different worlds of Norse mythology. Occasionally this resulted in stunning and romantic images - such as Robyn Dixon's Frigg, high on the tower, leaning out over the audience, defying the elements to harm her son as thunder and rain crashed down around her.

Overall though this is a big apocalyptic story - as Odin is hideously aware - Balder's death predicts the end of Ragnarok and it all felt rather underplayed here. Fate, destiny and a sense of oblivion are everywhere in the sagas and myths. The unforgiving granite landscape and six months of darkness every year inspires epic thought and action, but the actors, perhaps awed by the space or material, never really found an appropriate scale for their performances and with the show played for gags, rather than weight, it was hard, in the end, to see them as powerful Gods capable of havoc.

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