Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Intrepid Fools opt for simplicity with VIKING. It is a basic set up with few props and limited costumes, but plenty of creative spark. The audience are encouraged to fill in the gaps and let their creativity run riot throughout an unspectacular but adoring performance.

Hoping to become the local Skald, Regnarr Ragnarson (Alastair McNamara) must make an intrepid journey to collect the Storymead from a distant cave. Along the way he must befriend a bear, outwit a dwarf and outrun a lethal bounty hunter. He overcomes his differences with his furry companion to recognise the things the two have in common. The narrative is far from original, but a younger audience will care more about the silly moments and laughter, while parents will appreciate the positive moral of the story. What everyone will notice is a cast who are all having a great time, each character feeling unique and entertaining in their own ways. The growing relationship between Ragnarr and the bear (Flora Wilson Brown) is handled tentatively and with humour. The end result of their arc is never going to surprise you but the way they get there certainly might.

What could really make VIKING come alive is addressing the crowd more directly, rather than limiting most of their talking to each other. They occasionally speak out towards the crowd, but except for the narration this is not really at them, and said narration feels a little distant. Storytelling shows can work magnificently when audiences feel like part of the story rather than observers, and for all of its wonder this is something that VIKING could work in better.

It is difficult to not leave the show without a smile on your face though – even if you’re sitting further than three rows back, in which case some of the action can be hard to see. VIKING is executed with loving joy by a cast full of energy and imagination, who all help to energise this well-intentioned adventure story. If they make the show a little more immersive and involving, they have a recipe for superb stories that the vikings of old would find worthy of a sit around the fire.