Review: Thor and Loki (Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh Fringe)
Co-creators Harry Blake and Alice Keedwell present their new musical based on Norse mythology
If there is a show that has Fringe favourite stamped through, then it is probably this truly silly but hugely enjoyable effort from Harry Blake, one of the rising stars of British musicals.
I am not sure how much the venture burnishes his credentials as a serious composer, but it is easy on the ear, smart on the tongue and impeccably sung and performed.
Any resemblance to the Marvel comic universe, to Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, is entirely accidental. This is a world where Thor (played by Blake himself) is a gentle, peace-loving soul, who plays the cor anglais, hides Greek pottery under his bed, worries about the correct pronunciation of his name and prefers a vegan diet to ox. Loki (played by Alice Keedwell, Blake's partner in the cabaret group House of Blakewell, listed as co-creators) is a nervous giant who finds it difficult having horns.
Both are misfits in the militaristic setting of Ragnorak where Odin (Bob Harris, in eyepatch and boxing robe) is building a wall to protect the golden apples of eternal youth from the giants led by Thiassi (Laurie Jamieson, having a whale of a time.) Can their message of peace and love triumph in the end?
It is all very funny, lightly written and brilliantly marshalled by director Eleanor Rhode and choreographer Jennifer Fletcher. The shoe-string budget doesn't stretch very far in terms of scenery or costumes, but the five-strong cast makes up for the lack of special effects by inserting huge amounts of energy and madcap glee into the action.
Its political points – encapsulated in a cheerful little ditty called "Let's Build A Wall" – are laid on with the subtlety of Thor's hammer, and it slightly outstays its welcome. But the songs are great and well sung.
I sometimes worry about the way the Edinburgh Festival encourages comedy musicals at the expense of more substantial fare, and I hope Blake will go on to write better and more subtle shows that actually have something to say. But for now, this passes the time very entertainingly.
Thor and Loki runs at Assembly Roxy at 7.15pm