Mythos Ragnarok (1)

Mythos: Ragnarok review | By the power of Thor, it’s a lot of fun

A cast of professional wrestlers act out key stories from Norse mythology in a ludicrously entertaining smackdown.


A cast of professional wrestlers act out key stories from Norse mythology in a ludicrously entertaining smackdown. Here’s our Mythos: Ragnarok review.

The Assembly Roxy, where Mythos: Ragnarok finds its big, crash-mat home this year, is inside a particularly gothic-looking church.

Though that might have a few thousand 10th century monks turning in their (very dusty) graves, it works as a brilliantly atmospheric setting for Mythological Theatre’s speedrun through the Norse pantheon. From the moment Ed Gamester’s charismatic Odin prowls, hooded and fierce looking, out into the smoky arena, the slightly camp melodrama of proceedings is hard to resist.

As one of the few wrestling shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, Mythos has a unique ability to reach the uninitiated in two different fronts. While most Fringe-goers are probably at least passively familiar with the main players of Norse mythology, the world of professional wrestling is another mystery entirely. Thankfully, the show serves as an entertaining introduction to the many ways absolutely massive humans can knock nine realms out of each other, while maintaining much of the mystic weirdness which makes these stories so entertaining in their own right.

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The result is a powerful indication of the underused ability for wrestling to help tell a story. There’s something brilliantly primeval about watching ancient campfire tales punctuated with spectacle-stuffed hand-to-hand combat. In a way it feels like one of the more accurate ways of retelling the Norse myths – no microphones, little technology, just half a dozen performers using their voices and their fists to tell fables a thousand years in the making.

In what I gather is true wrestling fashion, the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. The performers often make snide, sarcastic comments at both each other and the audience, while carrying on the centuries-old tradition of having a gloating character slammed head-first into the floor. Michael Reece’s Loki is a particularly camp highlight, sliding and dancing around the stage before pulling off the god’s more emotional moments with both aplomb and a Powerbomb.

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If one thing does puncture the atmosphere slightly, it’s the music. While the Viking-esque horns and drums set the scene brilliantly, the venue’s sound system doesn’t seem capable of a proper fade, which leads to a few disappointingly jarring moments in what is otherwise a solidly entertaining evening.

Still, if you’ve come to the Fringe looking for shirtless people throwing each other around a ring, and have so far found yourself disappointed, Mythos: Ragnarok is the show for you. For everyone else, it’s hard to leave a night with Mythological Theatre without a Chris Hemsworth-quality smile on your face.

Mythos: Ragnarok is playing at the Assembly Roxy at 21:20 until 27 August. Check out the rest of our Edinburgh Festival Fringe coverage here.

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