Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Carol Rosegg


  • TM



Opening Night:
August 13, 2014
September 27, 2014

Theater: Minetta Lane Theatre / 18 Minetta Lane, New York, NY, 10014


Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson is a sonic journey through the rise and fall of Elbowville (a small community within Ragnar Agnarsson's body), where a love triangle develops, shaking Elbowville to its core. The creation of a "prosperity machine" ultimately contributes to shattering the peace in the sweet little community. How does the pragmatic, highly sexual (and possibly slightly evil) Mayor Manuela (Cady Huffman) deal with the crisis? The prosperity machine does indeed create wealth for the Elbowvillians, but can the good times last and at what cost?

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson

    A Joint Laid to Ruin by Recession ‘Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson’ at Minetta Lane

    Laura Collins-Hughes

    August 13, 2014: See if you can spot the joke built into the title of the new rock musical at the Minetta Lane Theater: Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter. Could it be the elbow? Nope. Something about the guy’s name? Not that, either. The joke is the useless occupation. For a furniture painter, there’s no work to be had. Huh? But so goes the cryptic comic reasoning of the Icelandic brothers Ivar Pall Jonsson and Gunnlaugur Jonsson, making their musical theater debut with this quirky, great-looking but discombobulated satire about greed and economic collapse. The show’s book, music and lyrics are by Ivar Pall Jonsson, from a story the brothers wrote together. And what a peculiar story it is, set inside the body of the title character, where the tiny people of Elbowville fish lobsters from his lymphatic system and pray to their god, Robert Redford, whose movies can be seen up north in Eyesockette. Ragnar is a big fan.

  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson

    Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painte Theater review

    Adam Feldman

    August 13, 2014: Consider the pitch line for Ívar Páll Jónsson’s Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter: an Icelandic rock-musical allegory about the invention and collapse of the modern financial system, set inside a human elbow—and starring Tony winner Cady Huffman! It sounds like a two-hour Family Guy cutaway, and that’s more or less how it plays. The word quirky might as well have been invented for this show, but so gasp-inducingly whimsical, swan-dress-at-the-Oscars a work screams out for a word of its own: qúírkky? It is nothing if not original; it is also not much but original. Yet the usual jaded response to a shockingly ill-conceived show (i.e. that it is not even entertaining enough to be so-bad-it’s-good) does not apply here. Those with a taste for gutsy fiascos will find much to savor.

  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson

    The road to fascism leads through an ashy elbow in this highly imaginative indie-rock musical

    Zachary Stewart

    August 13, 2014: The prospect of overnight wealth hasn't lost its allure these six years after the global financial crisis, when we all should have realized that get rich quick is an empty promise for 99 percent of us. Of course, as Ívar Páll Jónsson's timely (if somewhat incomplete) musical shows, the prospect of being in the elusive 1 percent drives many of us to make some terrible choices. Despite having an impossible-to-remember title, Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter rests on an unforgettable premise: Everything we see takes place inside the body of a schlubby Nordic man in a white mesh tank top. (Projected on the back wall of the theater, Agnarsson shifts listlessly on a couch as we enter the house.) His rotund body substitutes for Earth, and Robert Redford plays the part of God. (Agnarsson has a fondness for Redford's films, shadows of which flash across his eyes to the wonder of the denizens of his body, like Plato's allegory of the cave.) As far as heavy-handed allusions are concerned, it's a rather harsh repudiation of the immense importance with which we endow life on our tiny rock.

  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson

    Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter Review

    Matthew Murray

    August 13, 2014: To dwell too much, too quickly, on the many, many things wrong with the musical titled Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter, which just opened at the Minetta Lane Theatre, would be to risk not discussing the few very real things it somehow manages to get right. So let's start there. The show's script and songs, by Icelandic writer Ívar Páll Jónsson (based on a story he conceived with his brother, Gunnlaugur), tell a tale of unfortunately world-shattering significance: about a financial crisis that cripples a tiny community, and the resolution of which will forever change those that live there. Though it's perhaps most intimately connected to the bursting of Iceland's speculative banking bubble in the last decade, certainly it's easy enough for Americans to understand the impact, as we are, in many ways, still under the effects of a similar financial collapse that occurred in 2008.

  • NEW YORK THEATER REVIEW OF Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson

    Theater Review: Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter

    Jonathan Mandell

    August 13, 2014: It is easy to feel bewildered by a title that sounds as if it is translated from the Icelandic. But as it turns out, the dialogue and the lyrics sound that way as well. Revolution in the Elbow etc.  is a bizarre enough new musical to be mistaken for an entry in the Fringe festival, except that no Fringe show has such an expensive set, nor such Tony-level talent, thanks to the more than a million dollars that has been invested in this unfortunate world premiere production at the Minetta Lane Theater. Most of the investors as well as the creative team are, in fact, from Iceland. Elbow songwriter Ivar Pall Jonsson and his brother and collaborator Gunnlauger Jonsson have told interviewers that their show is a parable inspired by the 2008 economic crash and recession, which hit Iceland even harder than the United States.



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