James Rowland’s one-man show is a storytelling master class, well placed foreshadowing and theme setting is intertwined with escalation, tears and laughter.
Team Viking was a hit at Edinburgh festival 2016 and it’s easy to see why. James welcomes the audience in a warm and joyous way. Chatting to everyone while spraying us with Lynx aftershave, taking us back to P.E classes or simply bringing the smell of Vikings to the stage. James begins the show with the juxtaposition of calling Odin the king of Vikings to aid with the telling of the story, then switches to playing an old quirky keyboard, setting down his first loop for an ever-growing song.
Bubbly, joy-filled stories spill from James as he builds and weaves the river of grief into his tale. As the real story unfolds, silence rolls out onto the audience. ‘All of this is true’ James tells us; the story of his best friend dying and the mad-cap funeral he wanted. It is an honour to witness the depth of love James brings to the recounting of his tale and there are tears amongst the audience. These do not linger as jokes introduced as ‘Tumour Humour – it grows on you’ are hard not to smile at. As the song and the show reached its climax, I was left with the best piece of advice I’ve heard for a while ‘Let’s sing through all the shit and let’s die idiots together’. James intersperses ridiculous singing and building a song on a loop track – well timed and beautifully crafted. Go see if you get a chance.
Team Viking is currently touring
See what’s coming up at Tobacco Factory Theatres here
Image by Alex Brenner, with thanks