Team Viking, Tangram, Artsreach tour

DO you remember the film The Vikings, starring a hyper-butch Kirk Douglas as the Viking leader and the gorgeous Tony Curtis as the scantily clad hero? OK, you’re showing your age – but you will remember the dramatic finale as Kirk Douglas’s character is sent off to the Norse after-life in traditional style, in a great boat, set on fire by a burning arrow.

As three children growing up together, James, Sarah and Tom played Vikings, fought great battles, sailed their ships to mysterious lands and conjured up Odin and the other gods. They were Team Viking.

As they reach adulthood, they still spend much of their time together. Tom is a confident and playful young man, equally attractive to both sexes. Sarah is a very bright young woman, working her way through post-graduate degrees to become an engineer. James is a bit overshadowed by his friends.

We join James as his father dies and he has to organise the funeral. He and his mother spend Christmas with her parents. It’s a bit boring – apart from the Christmas pudding.

When Tom is diagnosed with an untreatable and rapid cancer, he makes his best friends promise that they will give him a real Viking send off.

But how do you do that, in 21st century London? It takes Sarah’s practical skills to pull it all together, while James falls apart, overwhelmed by the complex emotions triggered by his friend’s death bed confession.

So that’s all pretty grim, isn’t it. Except that it is also very funny. It’s one of those stories where laughter is the best response. No matter how serious things get, we have to hang on to our sense of humour.

Tangram is already well known in West Dorset from visits to Lyme Regis with the company’s Scientrilogy (Einstein, Darwin, Curie) but this is the first time the company has toured this show, the first of a new trilogy, directed by Daniel Goldman.

James Rowland is an experienced storyteller and he carries the audience with him on this darkly comic journey of death and friendship, with no set and no props, other than a Valkyrie-style horned helmet.

Is it all true? Is any of it true? What happens next? You decide!


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