‘Everything you look for in a musical on the Fringe’: THOR & LOKI – Edinburgh Fringe ★★★★

In Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Musicals, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by Debbie GilpinLeave a Comment

Assembly Roxy (Venue 139), Edinburgh
Until 26 August 2018

From the mind of Harry Blake (and created with House of Blakewell) comes the superhero musical you’ve been waiting for. Step aside Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, as the story of the legendary feuding gods is reimagined for the stage – where the coming of Ragnarok also means a time for ballads, tap dancing and comedy. This new musical, directed by Eleanor Rhode (and with musical direction from Harrison White), can be found at Assembly Roxy.

It’s time for Thor’s coming-of-age, as it’s his 34th birthday, but despite his super strength he’d rather be writing his own poetry or playing the cor anglais rather than wielding his mighty hammer, Mjolnir. Half-giant Loki has similar views (she and her mum are pacificists) until she’s led to believe that the gods callously murdered her mother which sets her on course for revenge. However, when she comes across a disgraced Thor, they find they might have more in common than they first thought…

This camp, comedic, 21st-century-influenced retelling of one of the most well-known sections of Norse mythology – fuelled by a plethora of recent Marvel films featuring the two characters – is everything you look for in a musical on the Fringe. There is some pre-recorded music, but it’s bolstered by brilliant actor-musicianship, including unexpected instruments such as the cello and saxophone. The skill and energy from the cast of six, coupled with their awareness of just how silly it all is, makes for a hugely entertaining piece of theatre.

Harry Blake’s laconic delivery of Thor’s lines ensures he keeps the audience laughing (“I love the dancing… I love the fighting.”), contrasting particularly well with the other more exuberant characters. Alice Keedwell’s Loki has a belter of a voice, filling the auditorium with her beautifully sung ballads – and rocking a pair of black horns. But it’s Laurie Jamieson who manages to steal the show in his various supporting roles as brown-nosing Asgard god Baldur and viciously ambitious General of the Giant army, Thiassi. Jamieson absolutely goes for it – and you won’t want to miss the appearance of his magical horse…

Jennifer Fletcher’s choreography is simple but effective, even including an old school tap number for good measure, and the cast perform with gusto. Though amidst the silliness there is some well-observed comedy (“Who knew humans could be so judgmental and xenophobic?”), even taking potshots at Donald Trump with references to building a wall around Asgard – in which they’d take back control of their borders (sound familiar?). An extremely well pitched and performed musical comedy.

Thor and Loki
Photo credit: Karla Gowlett

My verdict? The Norse mythology musical you’ve been waiting for, unashamedly silly and brilliantly performed – and there’s even a tap number!

Rating: 4*

Thor and Loki runs at Assembly Roxy until 26 August 2018 (7.15pm, 75 minutes). Tickets are available online or from the box office.

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Tags: Alice Keedwell, Assembly Roxy, Chris Hemsworth, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Eleanor Rhode, Harrison White, Harry Blake, House of Blakewell, Jennifer Fletcher, Laurie Jamieson, review, theatre, Thor and Loki, Tom HiddlestonCategories: all posts, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, review, theatre

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Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.
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Debbie Gilpin on FacebookDebbie Gilpin on RssDebbie Gilpin on Twitter
Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.

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