Pippi at the circus

What an absolutely fantastic day I had today. An exhibition that chilled me, a museum that thrilled me and a night at the circus. I am just exhausted. Fortunately, tomorrow sees me on trains and buses for large swathes so I can get over it then.

The exhibition was at Sven-Harry’s. We went there back in January 2021 and saw Bakom hörnet vindens jojk, which was excellent. Obviously, seeing as there was a new exhibition on at the moment, I wanted to go.

The exhibition was called HUMANITET – The Power of Art in Troubling Times and featured the works of four well known Swedish artists of the twentieth century. They were Vera Nilsson (1888–1979), Sven Xet Erixson (1899–1970), Bror Hjorth (1894–1968) and Albin Amelin (1902–1975).

The four of them got together and created a magazine called Humanitet (Humanity) in 1930. They’d all seen the rise of fascism in the world and were scared of how it would spread. They were right, of course. From the civil war in Spain to the Nazis in Germany. In the magazine they would draw and write, letting people know what the world was coming to.

They also painted and sculpted. Their work is very powerful and, sometimes, disturbing but, the main thing that this exhibition highlights is how the world seems to be approaching the same sort of crossroads as it did back in 1933.

Förbannad vare du som icke förbannar kriget (1944) by Sven Xet Erixson

The whole exhibition was incredibly powerful.

Afterwards, I headed off for the old Line 4 to Radiohuset in order to visit the never knew about before, Swedish History Museum. And what a great place. It’s a fair way out, 11 stops on the bus, but well worth it. And there wasn’t any crowd.

I concentrated on the Vikings exhibition on the ground floor. It was more than enough to keep me occupied for an hour or so. The rest of the museum can wait for another visit, hopefully when Mirinda can come as well.

I loved all the Viking stuff but, I think, most of all, I rather liked sitting in Yggdrasil listening to the story of Idun and her golden apples and how Loki tricked her. I knew the story from reading Neil Gaiman’s book but it was nice having it read to me like it would have been done originally. I felt almost like I was sitting round a fire listening to the Shaman speak.

There were an awful lot of amazing artefacts but I rather liked these three little figures though, as Lorna pointed out, the middle one looks very sad.

The chap on the right appears to have lost his beer.

Exhausted, I rode the rails back to the apartment for a bit of a break before getting ready to go to the circus.

Mirinda found the show online about a month ago and I knew I had to go. Since living in Sweden I’ve come to love Pippi Longstocking, having never known of her before. She is such a good role model but not in some mamby pamby way like a lot of kids characters. She’s got balls.

Each year, there’s a circus next door to Skansen. It runs from July to August in a purpose built fixed circus ring. And this year, the show was called Pippi at the circus.

The show was utterly brilliant. It even started before it started with circus performers rounding up the people outside and entertaining us all as they went.

When the show started inside, it was just electric.

There were all the usual performers that you’d expect at a circus but it had a story running through it. There was everything any proper melodrama needs but with some incredibly infectious songs. And, of course, Pippi played by Ida Breimo. She was dynamite.

Great voice, incredible energy, and circus skills as well. She had everything. And the crowd absolutely loved her. They loved everything. The whole show never faltered and neither did the audience.

I was worried when I booked that I be the only old duffer without any kids but I needn’t have. There were plenty of other oldies without kids, enjoying the show.

The cleverest thing were the animals. Rather than real animals, the cast played a bear, horses and performing poodles. It sounds silly but it worked remarkably well. I quite liked the flying horses.

Special mention should go to the two kids who played Annika and Tommy – there were four of each in the cast, I assume cycling through, so I don’t know which ones I saw tonight. Whoever they were, they were excellent with marvellous voices. I figure they would be coveted parts to play and the two playing them tonight were superb.

But, seriously, everyone was bloody brilliant. Here’s the complete cast list, each and every one a great performer.

Pippi: Ida Breimo, Pippi understudy: Lovisa Svensson, Ringmaster: Angela Wand, Prussiluskan: Anna Lagerqvist, Kling: Henrik Agger, Klang: Hamadi Khemiri, Klang: Aaron Hakala, Pierre: Petter Wadsten, Carmencita: Sara Sanchez Runsten, Strong Adolf: Axel Ahl, Elvira & Miss Oopsie: Lisa Angberg, Henry 1: Nilas Kronlid, Henry 2: Lukas Ivanow, Tommys: Axel Adelöw, Jack Bergenholtz Henriksson, Oscar Svensson, Hampus Nyberg, Annikas: Estrid Henricson, Leah Nyström, Siri Öhman and Benthe Börjesson Liebert

Not forgetting the amazing orchestra.

Drums, percussion, vocals: Per Svenner, Contrabass, bass, vocals, keyboard: Christopher Ek, Guitar, violin, vocals: Matilda Fritzell, Conductor, accordion, keyboard, trumpet, harmonica, vocals: Albin Grahn, Vocals, guitar, flute: Mija Folkesson

Truly a show to remember. Forever.

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