This work opens with the exuberant Alison Williams Bailey, who begins the story of Audhumla the mother of cattle, who opened hearts by licking ice. At which point Imir was born, the creator of woman, man and giant.
Alison performs well in this solid hour performance, weaving one Norse myth into another. As we move from the story of Imir we are told of the Nine Waves of the Sea, the Doom of the Gods in Ragnarok, of Odin and Thor, son of earth and posessor of the hammer which has the power of alchemy and transformation. The piece then shifts deeper into multiple myth and creation stories such as Idrisil the tree which exists between two worlds, the winter of discontent and the Doom of the Dead.
Alison chooses to imbed local myths, stories and ideas – Dame Dark who was ‘Witchy Wise’ and made puffball soup, ordered by St Winfred to be condemned to death for witchcraft. How these interventions relate to the stories of Norse mythology aren’t entirely clear. They do bring some sense of real of imagined local myths to Sussex, and bring out the personality of Alison as a performer which is both a mystery and intriguing.
The point of storytelling in mythological terms is not always to create clear narrative or offer these strange and wild stories within a recognisable theatrical structure. This piece often fluttered from one myth to another, jumping around in what felt at times to be incoherent for us the audience.
It is important to remind ourselves that folk mythology derives from a strong oral tradition, of stories by the fire at night, and of the ability for it’s listener to decode the messages, lessons and ideas contained within the plethora of complex mythology. It may of course have been more engaging to focus in on one or two norse myths that could be more theatrically realised. But it was a fun alenough and strange spectacle. And an opportunity to immerse in this strange world of Marvel characters such Thor in a way probably not all so disimilar to the original Norse storytellers.