This unusual, innovative ‘songplay’ based on the 9th century epic poem is brimming with vitality and satiric humour. The huge ensemble of actors, singers and musicians retell the story of the Scandinavian warrior, who faces the challenge of defeating the monstrous Grendal and his fearsome mother.
The performance isn’t checked by any reverence for this ancient text, but rather it is suffused with a dark, macabre humour more reminiscent of a Tim Burton film. The ensemble tear about the circus tent of Dans Paleis quarrelling amongst the audience, dishing out cans of beer, engaging in intense thumb wars and pulling off one another’s limbs.
The dialogue and lyrics are, in equal parts, witty and brash giving these ancient characters new life - they even manage to humanise the relationship between Grendal and his mother. In equal measure, the text is enlivened by the vibrant music that accompanies the performance; the seven piece band play everything from Jazz to Electronica and it is top-tappingly good.
Whether you know the story of Beowulf or not, this new imagining of a fusty epic will certainly entertain and amuse.