Review: Legends by Hammer and Tongs Theatre

No comments

LEGENDS final final.png

Lately, all kinds of media have seen a renewed interest in Norse mythology, be it Marvel’s live-action adaptation of Thor or Neil Gaiman’s interpretation of the mythos in his 2017 book simply titled Norse Mythology,  Often, the Norse myths aren’t the easiest subject to tackle, and far too often involve violent, bloody ends and too many gods to keep track of.

Hammer and Tongs Theatre are no stranger to adapting myths and stories, having previously adapted Arabian Nights and Greek mythologies in Myths, making Legends a natural next step for the company. Instead of attempting to cover each and every story in the mythos, writer/director Jennifer Rose Lee has instead vouched to effectively combine a few stories, bringing various gods and monsters together in one long narrative thread.

WhatsApp Image 2017-05-26 at 14.58.40.jpeg

Hammer and Tongs’ Legends creates a world that’s easy to find yourself caught up in. Under set designer Lizzie Kendal’s multiple colourful banners inscribed with Norse runes and symbols, the audience is immediately gifted with a sense of the grandeur and epic, and is appropriately readied for the fantastic tale about to unfold. By taking on the narrative frame of three Nordic guardians overseeing the going-ons of the nine realms, the script allows the various myths to easily come into play. From a quiz show where Odin and a frost giant are participants, to a poetic polyglot who converses with a sea monster that just wants to make friends, Legends is peppered with twee jokes and silly scenarios that make the daunting world of Norse legend accessible to all.

This is of course, helped by the fact that Legends is armed with three energetic, enthusiastic cast members, who play the roles of various gods, monsters, elves and dwarves throughout the performance. Easily transforming into characters as far flung as an aged librarian to a Shakespearean poet and adopting accents from the American South to English North, Legends feels like a series of short sketches that balances education and entertainment in equal amounts. Oliver Yellop in particular impressed us with his animated facial expressions, and along with his co-stars Charlotte Reid and Philippa Hambly, really charmed us and kept us hungry for more with each segment.

George Mackenzie-Lowe’s incidental live guitar music also added to the mythical atmosphere of the performance, and he also provides sound effects to creative effect, from literally typing away at a keyboard to snapping celery to represent bones breaking.

Legends shot

Legends is a play that would appeal to audiences of all ages, and Hammer and Tongs delights with their contemporary, light-hearted take on the Norse legends of olde. Legends makes you thirst for more information, more stories and more fables of the Norse world, piquing our interest and tickling our funnybones, and one hopes they keep up the good work for future productions.

Photo Credit: Hammer and Tongs Instagram

Performance attended 25/5/17

Legends: Monsters, Mead and Mayhem plays from 25-27 May at the Blue Elephant Theatre. Tickets available here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s