May the gods spare us from student visions of dystopian futures. We are beyond a new ice age, in the fifth millennium when the British isles have drifted Norsewards and the people speak cod Icelandic. In trawlermen’s rain capes the residual population sings close harmony a capella and recites – with line by line translation – a Noggin the Nog saga of a folk hero named Komrade Krumm.
His surviving young female descendant, possibly, sets off on a quest to find the epic hero but on the way discovers he was pretty much a dud at polar exploration, experimental aviation and space travel. Both ideologically and idealistically silly, she becomes a spiritual focus for the rootless people.
Intensely concentrating performances by the teenage first-timers who incorporate the acting company afresh each year gives Krumm a degree of seriousness which means you shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand There are comedic moments, the singing can be lovely, but ultimately it struggles to hold your attention the full Edinburgh hour.
Director Tom Penn sets it entirely round a refectory table with the cast seated and any sporadic movement centred on or under the furniture as it transforms into the locations for Krumm’s historic acts of derring-do. Unfortunately the ‘silly-ass Britisher’ accents of the flashback scenes are too echoing of TV sketch shows and undermine both the high concept and the potential to more thoroughly develop writer Richard Fredman’s ideas about freedom of thought and nobility of action.
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