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RAGNARØKKR @ The Blue Room Theatre gets 8/10


Ragnarøkkr 
@ The Blue Room Theatre
Friday, January 31, 2020

8/10

Ragnarøkkr is a Nordic rock cabaret at the apocalypse, the burning finale to the world. Charged with powerful vocals, thundering guitar riffs and drumming, this is a must for any rock or Viking lover. Presented by lead artist St John Cowcher and fellow performers Joe Paradise Lui (guitar) and Gracie Mae Smith (drums), the trio deliver an epic rock show equipped with face-melting guitar riffs and ear booming drum solos.


As the audience enters, the stage is flooded with mist and illuminated under the green lights are the eerie, barely distinguishable figures of Lui and Smith, with Lui’s haunting melody floating through the air giving audience members the inclination that something epic is coming.

Sure enough, when everyone is seated, from the mist emerges St John Cowcher, Loki – the Norse God of mayhem and mischief. In monstrous platform boots, bare torso and beard, St John Cowcher presents Loki somewhere between Ziggy Stardust and Ragnar Lodbrok. Loki introduces himself and the context of Ragnarök, and then his children – his daughter, Fenrir the wolf, on drums, and his son, Jörmungandr the snake, on guitar. Together, they present the audience with an advanced musical performance and a tenacious determination to rock.


Contextually, in Norse myth, Ragnarök is the cataclysmic destruction of the universe and the Gods, told in a chronological series of events, including battles and natural disasters culminating in the conclusion of the world submerged in water. With tales laden with chaos and destruction, Ragnarøkkr boasts a fitting soundtrack that Ozzy himself would be proud of.

When the music starts, so too the heads of the audience began bopping, with St John prowling the stage front as Lui and Smith shreded behind him. Together, they deliverred songs about war, destruction and the apocalypse, and audience members embarked with them on this Norse journey of hell and distortion. The trio presents their rock narrative in a style similar to that of TOOL, with riffs reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. Lui in the background is difficult to take your eyes off, as his black hair swings through the mist and his fingers shred on the neck of the guitar. St John’s stage presence is of epic proportion, and his costume and makeup make him a visually enthralling and powerful frontman. Smith’s tight drumming and evident passion for the piece aids the thunderous magnitude of the show.


One song is led into the next with short narration from St John, as Lui and Smith turn down the volume, only for it to be turned to the max again in a matter of minutes as the next song starts. At an hour-long, the show packs all the adrenaline of a live metal performance, with the volume cranked extra loud – they offer earbuds for the fainthearted on the way in.

With humour, history and heavy sounds, Ragnarøkkr is a must this Fringe season. Observe the Viking narration of Ragnarök… Audiences can expect to be treated to a standout show, and something to talk and muse about for weeks to come.

BENEDICT SHIRLEY

Photos by Daniel Grant

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