Norwegian double bill storms Sydney

Despite the challenges of COVID, Nordic Noir played to 11 sell-out houses in December 2020 and March 2021. Our singers, dancers and actors, and musical ensemble gave their all, and were joined by two special guest dance performers in the second season of this tribute to all things Norwegian.

Our audiences laughed and gasped at the unexpected twists in Virus - a Fugue, the play by Norwegian playwright Frederick Brattberg. As one Sydney Morning Herald reviewer commented: 'The play within a play works its magic."

Equally popular were the much-loved and beautifully-played excerpts from Peer Gynt performed by our Endangered Production team.

A highlight was a guest appearance by ex-Bangarra dancer, Rayma Johnson, and young, emerging talent, Isaac Clark, performing to the much loved 'Morning Music' and 'In the Hall of the Mountain King'.


What the reviewers said

"Very witty, very dry ... making sharp, poignant comments about the fugal-style nature of disinformation and panic."  - Rita Bratovic, Sydney Sentinal

"The two Norwegian works ... shared a similar lightness or magical tone that made for an other-worldly experience." - Night Writes

"Morning Music ... a beautifully danced performance by Johnson, a proud Wiradjuri woman, is a cultural fusion that delights." -  Weekend Notes

"(The play in) Nordic Noir has you on the edge of your seat with simultaneous fear and excitement." What's On Sydney


What the audience said

"Delightfully quirky, original and absolutely fabulous."

"I felt well & truly transported - ah, the magic of live theatre."

"Last night blew me away. Congratulations!"

"... beautiful live music ... and those puppets were something else!"


About the performance

First half: Much-loved excerpts from our upcoming Peer Gynt.

For the dance guest appearances, Rayma Johnson specially choreographed two items. Isaac Clark enthralled the audience with his high-octane performance of 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' and Rayma evoked the Australian landscape with her interpretation of 'Morning Music'.

Our Endangered Productions singers and dancers also created emotional light and shade with their moving 'Solveig's Song' and a sensual, energetic interpretation of the 'Arabian Dance' and 'Peer Gynt and the Herd Girls'.

Second half: Virus - A Fugue, the play's world premiere.

This one-act play by well-known Norwegian playwright Fredrik Brattberg and translated by May-Brit Akerholt, builds using the principles of musical composition. Short sentences and absurd situations are repeated with different variants as the play progresses - like the contrapuntal interweaving of parts in a fugue. As the story unfolds, the characters also experience a 'psychiatric fugue' - a "loss of identity often coupled with flight from one's usual environment".

The result is a humorous and eventually disturbing text that reflects our COVID times and develops in surprising ways.

The play was commissioned by the Czech and Slovak drama journal, Svet a divadlo, Jakub Škorpil, Editor.

The production was generously supported by Create NSW and Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.


About the playwright

Fredrik Brattberg (born 30 October 1978) is both an author and composer. He is the third most produced living Norwegian playwright. His plays have been translated into almost twenty languages and staged in China, New York, Iceland, Denmark, France, Indonesia, Czech Republic, England and Norway. He won the Ibsen Award in 2012.

About the special guest dancer and choreographer

Rayma Johnson is a strong believer that culture will lead the way forward, not only for herself, her family and her people, but for all. Rayma is a freelance choreographer and teacher who developed and enriched her practice at the Redfern, Aboriginal & Islander, and Bangarra Dance Theatres. She has toured nationally and internationally.

Rayma Johnson Choreographer