THE BORDER (Jo Strømgren Kompani): 2015 Fringe review 32.2

Ivar Örn Sverrisson, Ida Holten Worsøe in THE BORDER by Jo Strømgren Kompani.  Photo © Eirik Brenne Torsethaugen

Ivar Örn Sverrisson and Ida Holten Worsøe in THE BORDER by Jo Strømgren Kompani.
Photo © Eirik Brenne Torsethaugen

Jo Strømgren Kompani’s THE BORDER delivers on all the essential aspects of Scandinavian life: there’s dry humor, a self-deprecating take on one’s life and, of course, melancholic dance music. If you’re wondering whether that combination can possibly amount to an entertaining evening at the theater, the answer is: it can and it does.

In the northernmost diplomatic outpost in the world, as an allegory of international relations, co-workers Harold from Norway (Ivar Sverrisson) and Jelena from Russia (Ida Holten Worsøe) fall in love—or lust—with each other. Their tumultuous relationship is expressed mainly through dance, and both performers do a superb job of conveying the comedic as well as the gentler moments. They dance to old Finnish dance tunes as the border between Russia and Norway is surrounded by Finland, but the music connection isn’t just geographical. The gloomy nostalgia of the songs seems perfect for the isolated and barren, yet somehow sympathetic, world of THE BORDER. THE BORDER is insightful, funny, quirky and very, very well made. It’s among the best productions at this year’s Fringe and something a little different from what you usually see in Philadelphia. [FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] September 9-12, 2015; fringearts.com/the-border.

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About the author

Ninni Saajola

Ninni Saajola is a screenwriter who has written both for television and radio theatre in her far, far away homeland and is now finishing her second B.A. in Philadelphia while working with miscellaneous theatre projects and continuing to write professionally in Europe.