In Scandimania: Gods of Ice and Fire, the stage is crammed with seven young actors, all dressed in white, who leap into action and unfold a fast-paced enactment of Norse mythology. This devised physical theatre/storytelling piece by Sundial Theatre is sharp, energetic and compelling.
With nothing but two blue ladders, a goblet, a stone bowl, rune cards, two lengths of rope and their own bodies, the ensemble cunningly transforms the stage and transports us to Asgard, Hel, Walhalla or Yggrdasil
The title of the show is apt: the first 10 minutes are manic, as a dizzying list of gods and giants and the landscapes they inhabit are set out. It’s easy to get lost here amid all the names but as the origin story dissolves into action to tell the first myth we are quickly lured in by the deft display of storytelling and daring physical theatre, where actors are hoisted onto others’ shoulders so close to the low ceiling that the utmost precision is vital to avoid concussion.
With nothing but two blue ladders, a goblet, a stone bowl, rune cards, two lengths of rope and their own bodies, the ensemble cunningly transforms the stage and transports us to Asgard, Hel, Walhalla or Yggrdasil, where they breathe life into the myths. There are characters we’ve met before - Odin and Thor and of course the shapeshifter Loki, who an excited young audience member behind me recognised for his devious ways and who engineers tragedy.
In a show this fast-paced, there’s often little space for emotions to settle and for us (audience and actors) to pause for breath. However the saga of the death of Balder provides an emotional shift, showing the skill of the actors. Particularly impressive is the capacity of these young performers to maintain focus and vocal clarity while executing physically demanding movements.
The piece is well structured, cleverly using the reading of runes to introduce the different chapters, and builds to a gripping final chapter, which delighted me by using future tense in the storytelling. This provides a chilling portent without a definitive ending; these epic stories of myth and vengeance continue to live on.