In ragged robes and wearing a half mask adorned with eagle wings, the god Odin prepares himself for battle, the darkened room filled with the sound of chanting and the arena lit with red strip lighting as the ushers herd the audience to their places around the realms of Midgard, a challenge in itself, before the prophecy of Ragnarok is revealed in all its glory.
The tale an old one born from biting ice and burning flame, incompatible yet existing side by side and constantly at war, it is a creation myth of a new world of gods, the ancestors and kin of Odin: Loki, the crowdpleaser who adores attention but must never be trusted, Borr, king of the Ice Giants in animal skins and bones, Surtr, of long sword and flame, then later their offspring, Thor, Fenrir, Hel and Jörmungandr.
Mythos: Ragnarok a spectacle to be witnessed, it is Nordic mythology retold by a ten-strong cast of professional wrestlers led by Ed Gamester, heavily yet appropriately tattooed and clad in leather and sweat, with Richard Summers Calvert as Loki, Justin Sysum as Thor, Rachel Seagrott as Hel and, towering over the rest of the cast, Charlie Spooner and Miles Lay as Borr and Jörmungandr; sadly absent are the eight-legged horse Sleipnir and the chariot pulled by cats.
Any premise as ridiculous as this could not work with half measures, and the performers do not disappoint, throwing themselves fully into their roles and the action, bodies leaping across the stage, frequently thrown across the stage and slamming into the stage and each other, the audience cheering, booing and hissing throughout as though it were a particularly violent and inbred pantomime.
With thunder in the sky and a rumble on the streets of Asgard, from sword fights to the son of Odin and the serpent getting in a titty-slapping contest, Mythos: Ragnarok is unlikely to win any awards for dramatic excellence yet with such exuberance and high emotion invested there are moments of grief which are genuinely felt, but above and beyond that it entertains, thoroughly, completely and beyond expectation. For once, the gods seem to have been generous without exacting a great cost.
Mythos: Ragnarok runs at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose until Sunday 28th August