Here is a review of Fire in the North Sky: Epic Tales from Finland, written by 17 year old student, Charlotte Jackson, from a preview performance she saw at mac birmingham, summer 2014.
“Fire in the North Sky is simply an astonishing performance. From beginning to end it is able to capture the imagination and mentally take you to the frozen landscapes of Finland, of which, most of us have never seen. The beauty of this performance is that it makes no difference whether we have been to these remarkable places or not, it makes you feel as if you belong there and, through that sense of belonging, you are able to lose yourself in the music and the stories.
As a student of only seventeen, I had never been to a performance quite like this one and did not quite know what to expect. I was far from disappointed. On walking into the studio I was first intrigued by the remarkable photography on display at the back of the performance space. It immediately made me start thinking about Finland’s culture, of which I knew very little, and made me want to see the performance all the more so I could start to understand the meaning to the photography (which was images of traditional men, women and children in isolated villages from many years ago). As soon as the performance started I realized that the photography showed the importance of Epic Tales during traditional times and it helped set the scene for the performance and develop my understanding.
When the singing started I was not shocked to hear that it was sung in Finnish. This I thought was incredible and I would recommend that anybody, who has a passion for music, should come and see this performance, especially students such as myself, as it is so different to the music we listen to on a daily basis. Even though I was not able to understand the language it never ruined the performance. It allows you to truly focus on the purity of the human voice and appreciate the harmonies and tones. My only criticism is that on occasion the singing did drown out the voice of the storyteller and made it difficult to follow the story line. Other than that it was extraordinary. The stories themselves had to power to both relax and excite you in a very unique way. You are made to feel totally calm and at ease but at the same time, you are caught up in the energy of the tales and the excitement of the story. This is something, as a Theatre student, I have never come across before and would recommend that everyone experience this incredible feeling.”
Charlotte Jayne Jackson
Drama & Theatre Studies Student,