Review – A Viking Tale
“I hope I am going to get some weird Council grant for this,” Jenny Wynter says midway through her cabaret show A Viking Tale, just as she savagely mauls a bunch of iceberg lettuces with Viking hats on them.
The show follows a day in the life of a Viking mum (Wynter) who is trying desperately to organise a birthday party for her little Viking son, Olaf. Wynter, with her hair teased into two lopsided peaks, and a stripe of warrior-red across her lips, is a hilarious figure on stage. She portrays most of the other characters in the performance, including a passive-aggressive neighbour who is at pains to point out that her Viking birthday cakes for her Viking son are always hand-made and orgaaanic. These spot on impressions of people we all encounter in the non-Norse world are not only relatable, they are made all the more hilarious by the surreal setting.
This being a rock opera of sorts, and with onstage support from from a beard-clad (female) pianist and valkyrie singers Betty and the Betties, Wynter performs many pieces with aplomb. Valkyries are mythological figures from Norse legend who have the ability to fly and cause death to people they dislike, amongst other things. I never saw Betty and the Betties flying but – now this is a terrible pun, so I will excuse myself in advance – their voices soared. They also added greatly to the frothy, unabashedly mad tone of the show.
What A Viking Tale really suffers from is ill timing. The late night slot means that audiences are tired and less willing to play along. The Tuxedo Cat is in a quiet pocket of the city Fringe Festival zone, so you don’t tend to get drunken revellers spilling into the audience from places like the Garden. And it comes in at the end of the Fringe, with only two performances in Adelaide, it feels like the show could have benefited from a more extended run.
Overall A Viking Tale is rollicking great fun. It delivers the subtly feminist message that women are warriors and it is a pleasure to watch. Jenny Wynter, I hope you get some kind of weird arts council grant for this.