Writer: James Rowland
Music: James Rowland
Lyrics: James Rowland
Director: Daniel Goldman
Reviewer: Emily Hall
James Rowland’s debut solo show from Fringe 2016 is now on tour after his successful run of his new show, 100 Different Words for Love, this summer. Team Viking is the heartrending story of his friend’s death and spectacular goodbye.
After watching The Vikings at an unfortunately impressionable age, Rowling dubs his childhood pack “team Viking” and, following a string of unexpected emotional events, decides to not let one go out without the fiery send off of a true Viking.
Ambitious for its scope, Team Viking perfectly showcases Rowland’s best asset: his storytelling. The timeline isn’t linear. The delivery swerves from unforgivably funny to indulgently dramatic in seconds. The writing could be mistaken for a literary romance at one instant and a stand-up show the next. Rowland’s mesmerising personality unites disparate parts effortlessly.
Most performers would lose ethos after saying something dramatic and plopping down to play a mini-keyboard in a full funeral suit. Instead, Rowland manages to come across as raw and authentic, his unique quirks and small improvisations infusing his old script with life. Despite the dozens of performances that preceded his run at the Tron, Rowland captures the emotions of a first retelling in addition to the polish and nuance of a classic.
The litany of details, expressions and asides make the experience of grief seem real. He doesn’t just recall cathartic final goodbyes, inescapable realities and crystallised realisations, but the gritty details and unfortunate ironies that make death so confusing and complex.
Don’t wear too much eye makeup if you cry easily. Don’t let the cancer scare you off if you’re looking to laugh. James Rowland is a force to be reckoned with a story worth telling.
Runs until 21 September 2017 | Image: Contributed