Review | The Norwegians: if you’re looking for a few yuks…


Sara Marsh, Luverne Seifert, Jane Froiland in THE NORWEGIANS. Photo by Rick Spaulding.

Two young women walk into a Minnesota bar, one from Texas and one from Kentucky. They bond over the chilling effects of Minnesota winters, their broken hearts, and a desire to wreak revenge on their former boyfriends. Olive, the Texan, decides to take out a contract on her cold-hearted ex to have him murdered. She employs a pair of killers who call themselves: The Norwegians.

Tis the season for holiday shows. Even Dark And Stormy Productions (the edgy ensemble that, true to its name, specializes in producing finely wrought plays dealing with topics like suicide and insane asylums) is in the game with a revival of a play they produced in 2016, The Norwegians by C. Denby Swanson.

This 90 minute mash-up with obvious references to Fargo, has about 45 minutes of solid material. The best scene in the show is when Tor, one of the would-be killers, has a moment of revelation that changes his whole outlook on life. Luverne Seifert plays Tor’s enlightenment for all it is worth. Jane Froiland does great work as the jilted girlfriend, Olive. She manages to stay charming and sympathetic despite her desire to off her old lover. Avi Aharoni, as Gus, is suitably menacing as he prowls the stage. He is both murderer and marketing director for the team of assailants who call themselves The Norwegians. Sara Marsh, as Betty, rounds out the cast.

The show carries some obvious, well-worn tropes: hot dishes and lutefisk. It also has a lot of padding that is neither zany nor menacing. An interlude on the 1991 Twins goes nowhere and a disco dance scene seems extraneous. The best single line in the show is not about Minnesota but Texas. It is fresh and topical and got the biggest laugh on opening night.

Director Matthew G. Anderson misses several chances to build tension and serve up some great laughs. For example, when Betty empties her purse—a Texas-sized bag if ever there was one—why isn’t it funny? Why isn’t she taking out things like a hairdryer, a thong, and a can of cream of mushroom soup? The playwright handed the director the means, motive and opportunity, he just didn’t pull the trigger. As Tor would say, Uff da.

But it is the holiday season and winter in Minnesota so no need to be unkind. If you are in the neighborhood and want some yuks it is worth a look.

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