Theatre review: Team Viking

It might sound blunt, but the 'Dead Dad' show, so beloved of Fringe comedians in recent years, is dead.

James Rowland Who is appearing in Team Viking Picture: Toby Williams
James Rowland Who is appearing in Team Viking Picture: Toby Williams

Star rating: ***

Venue: Just the Tonic at The Community Project (Venue 27)

Or at least, severely on the wane. ­Comics have moved on to pastures new – this year, everyone’s got to make at least a passing reference to Brexit – which leaves the Dead Dad field wide open for other performers to explore.

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James Rowland’s Team Viking isn’t actually a Dead Dad show – it just uses the funeral of James’s father, right at the top of the show, to explore his friendship with best pals Tom and Sarah.

Inseparable since childhood, their relationship ­originally formed around 
re-enactments of the 1958 Kirk Douglas vehicle The Vikings. Following James’s dad’s death, they make a drunken pact that, whenever one of them has to go, they’ll have a Viking send-off. And then, sooner than expected, one of them has to go.

It’s a funny, intimate show, punctuated by Rowland’s a capella music breaks, which get looped together to form a slightly cacophonous ­jingle at the end – fewer layers would be an improvement. Music aside, the charming and open Rowland barely puts a foot wrong, though his playful, teasing final line does undermine the emotional weight of what’s gone before.

Until 28 August. Today 2:55pm.