“My Life as a Garden Gnome” musical comes to Swat

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The story of one brave little garden gnome journeying from his home in the Norwegian fjords across the globe is being brought to Swarthmore in the critically acclaimed musical “My Life as a Garden Gnome.”

The musical, which will be performed in the Frear for one night only (it is suggested that you arrive at least one hour early due to limited seating), has been performed all over the world to rave reviews. It tells the tale of Svaart Bobbel, crafted in a village atop a craggy Norwegian fjord, who ran away from home with grand dreams of becoming the first garden gnome on the moon.

The dialogue is beautiful, rolling in long, mellifluous language and omnifarious songs including a charming polka about triskaidekaphobia. With brilliantly woven political undertones, truly ingenious leitmotif laden music, and some impressive chorus line dance numbers, the production is among the more entertaining productions of the part few years.

Especially moving is Svaart’s insult monologue, done in the original Norse at the author’s request and using large poster board English subtitles. At one point, he cuttingly calls his life-long nemesis, Lodinkinni, a “murtr” (small fish) and his line, “Hon madr roman therva Kuaran,” (your mother wears Roman soldier shoes) never fails to bring tears to the audience’s eyes.

“Wherever you go, there you are,” the closing song of the musical, aptly describes the central message of this dazzling examination of existential gripes in its expose of the world of lawn ornaments. A play for all, with minimal violence and nudity, sure to provide a great deal of food for thought (refreshments provided after the show.)

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