Theatre SanTuoQi bring their famed blend of dance, physical theatre, puppetry and Nuo Opera to the fringe for their exploration of everyone's favourite Norse deity. It is a full throttle show, and the numerous disciplines used to bring the story to life are all performed with a great level of professionalism. The action and directing is solid and precise and the performers are all clearly very skilled and dedicated to the cause. Each kick, spin or wiggle of one of the delightfully simple puppets is extremely crisp and purposeful. Sadly the production is let down by one easily avoidable but, nonetheless, crucial mistake – terrible lighting design to the point where, even though the action is taking place five feet away, it’s difficult to see and follow what is happening.
The company are all dressed in black and it's immensely frustrating to be hearing what sounds like a visually thrilling show taking place in the same room. For a while I feared there had been a horrible technical error and that the cast were just bravely pushing forwards regardless of limited visibility, but the crew at the lighting desk seemed pretty relaxed and when the lights flash to represent Thor's mighty lightning you realise that the dankness is a failed attempt to create atmosphere and mood. If this simple issue was addressed the show would receive much greater acclaim for its proud massing of China's theatrical history into a single show and astute performances. When I could see what was happening, I was enthralled. It is genuine shame that such a simple misjudgement has had such an effect on this show.