A potent performance delivered with thrilling intensity by Night Light Theatre, Rift Zone transports you to Iceland with minimal props but maximum atmosphere. Dubbed ‘a brand new saga from the land of fire and ice’, it’s a burst of energy and magic that progresses over 90 minutes from sweet to searing.
The story, which put simply is a coming-of-age one about misplaced love, is told through a script that ripples with humour and poetry. It features an Icelandic family (mother, sister, brother) who are all, in their own way, obsessed with their country’s legends and folklore. There’s also an American increasingly intent on raping the land’s natural resources, and a wild academic who spends a lot of the time in only his pants and favours speaking in alliterative verse. The boundaries between myth and reality are always blurred.
The young ensemble are all accomplished actors, musicians and movers. It’s not a musical but the live music and songs are essential to the plot, and have an edgy, raw quality. There’s something of the indie rock gig about this performance. With a few bare light bulbs and some rich language, they manage to create a landscape where the breath hangs thick in the icy air (like curling steam from a kettle just before it boils) and the Aurora pulses in the mind’s eye.
Rift Zone is inspired by the emerging company’s own trip to Iceland in search of elves and Vikings, and reflects stories they heard and people they encountered while they were there. Despite the fact we watch it just off the relentless Euston Road (in the tiny New Diorama), and none of the cast are Icelandic, it’s a convincing experience. For the next couple of weeks, Euston offers the chance of an evening in the Rift Zone, a place that has a dark electricity all of its own.