The Monstrous Child

  • Linbury Theatre, London, 2019

Hel is the daughter of Norse god Loki and the giantess Angrboda. She’d be an ordinary teenager if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s half girl and half corpse. A prophecy predicts that Hel’s brothers are fated to bring forth the end of days, and in an attempt to prevent this the Gods kidnap all three of Loki’s monstrous children and take them to Asgard. Here, Hel becomes infatuated with Baldr, son of Odin (the king of the Gods).

The Monstrous Child is the first opera by Gavin Higgins, a young British composer with a reputation for boldly imaginative music. The text is adapted by bestselling author Francesca Simon from her own darkly humorous novel. Puppetry and the inspiration of the Norse landscape contribute to this theatrical spectacle about one teenager trying to find her place in the world.

To fit in with the primal world created on stage, Ian William Galloway’s design was composed entirely of hand-drawn ink and charcoal sketches, scanned and animated in two dimensions. Thousands of names write themselves up and down the walls, revealing big, bold and striking Scandinavian forests, the icy sheen of Asgard and the thousands of floating spirits that inhabit Niflheim.