REVIEW: ‘Thor and Loki’, HighTide Festival 2018, Walthamstow

Thor and Loki‘, HighTide Festival 2018, Walthamstow

  “When what was meant for everyone is guarded by a few, it’s time to make way for something new”.

  At HighTide’s 2018 Festival, ‘something new’ comes in the form of Harry Blake’s original comedy musical, ‘Thor and Loki’.

  Created with House Of Blakewell, the show is produced by Vicky Graham Productions, presented in association with HighTide, Harlow Playhouse and Something for the Weekend, with support from North Wall. Direction comes from Eleanor Rhode, design from Amy Jane Cook, and musical direction from Harrison White.

Harry Blake (Thor) and Julie Jupp in Thor and Loki. Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

  As the end of the world approaches, misfits Thor and Loki must form an unlikely friendship and work together to save the Nine Realms from extinction. With Thor’s coming-of-age (34, that is), his father gives him Mjölnir, a hammer, that he must use to destroy the giants. However, opposed to violence, Thor prefers writing poetry -reciting for us his ‘Destiny’s Child’ – and playing the cor anglais.

  Half-god, half-giant Loki has a fearsome roar. However, her appearance masks a heart of gold. Determined to exact revenge on the gods for wiping out her race, only herself and her mother remaining, she ends up joining forces with Thor, and together, these unassuming heroes strive to change the world, paving the way for something new. Something better.

  Thor and Loki take HighTide’s Festival by storm – specifically thunder and lightning. You’d be hard-pressed to name a more iconic duo…

Alice Keedwell (Loki) in Thor and Loki. Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

  An uplifting tale of good conquering evil, this uproariously funny production has audiences in raptures, and will have you tapping your feet and humming along, encouraging you to embrace who you are (horns and all), and strive for a better world.

  Coming in at one hour, fifteen minutes and with no interval, the show flashes by at lightning speed, hardly allowing the audience time to draw breath between laughter. Very well-written, with some surprisingly unexpected twists, the show consists of punchy dialogue and razor-sharp wit, firing one joke after another, some of which are more than a little cheeky.

  The cast, made up of just six members – Harry Blake (Thor), Alice Keedwell (Loki), Bob Harms (Odin), and Laurie Jamieson, Julie Jupp, and Boadicea Ricketts (all of whom play more than one character) – are fabulous, presenting audiences with a whole host of colourful characters, slipping into one bonkers costume after another. All possess a great vocal ability and perfect comic timing and, when not centre stage, provide musical accompaniment from the side of the stage for those characters that are. The cast are extremely talented, each displaying a wondrous versatility, and their frequent interaction with audience members is wholly entertaining. 

Laurie Jamieson, Harry Blake (Thor), Bob Harms (Odin) and Boadicea Ricketts in Thor and Loki. Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

  Harry Blake’s original score is excellent, his show tunes – with key changes galore! – catchy and memorable, and alongside Jennifer Fletcher’s choreography, which includes a chorus line of tap-dancing trolls, what more could you possibly ask for?

  Great family entertainment, the show made several references to pop culture and to modern politics – with a few jokes for the adults. For example, although ‘broke’, Odin states that “there’s always money for war”. His solution to protect Asgard from foreign invasion at the hands of the giants is to “build a wall” (the patriarchal dictator’s solution to everything), thus “taking back control of [Asgard’s] borders”. However, our heroes Thor and Loki join forces to knock down this wall, to burst through the barriers, and to unite the races of the Nine Realms, overcoming prejudice and inequality in favour of peace and love.

  The Norse gods might have it all – power, privilege, the apple tree of immortality – but this show ‘pierces the bubble of privilege’, questioning the god-like status of some, and the unequal distribution of power. Whether god, giant, troll or human, all are equal, all equally deserving. All can and should strive for a better world, bettering ourselves in the process.

Laurie Jamieson, Bob Harms (Odin), and Boadicea Ricketts in Thor and Loki. Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

  This is a show that celebrates love, life and inner strength. You may not be blessed with rippling pectorals or bulging biceps, but as this production points out, brawn isn’t necessary. You don’t need to wield a massive hammer. Instead, “it’s what you do with what you’ve got that makes the person that you are”. Make your own destiny, child. 

  We ALL have the power to change the world. But, “you’ll never see the change you want until you are the kind of change you want to see”.

  ‘Thor and Loki’ hammers home the importance of acceptance, diversity, equality, peace, and above all, love – “the strongest force there is”.

  At the end of the production, the gods may no longer be immortal, but this show certainly has an air of immortality about it. Forget Asgard – the West End is calling. ‘Thor and Loki’ has the potential to go far, and I’m sure the show has a bright future ahead of it, a destiny to fulfil, – a longer run on a larger stage.

  You don’t have to look like Chris Hemsworth in order to change the world. Whether you’ve got horns, scales, or even cloven hooves, this empowering musical encourages anybody and everybody to stand tall and say,

“I’m proud I am who I am”.

The cast of Thor and Loki. Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

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