‘Hjälp sökes’ – the reviews are in (Updated)

Hjälp sökes, the new musical from Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus premiered at Stockholm’s Orionteatern last Friday. The verdict of the Swedish press? It’s a big hit!

Svenska Dagbladet

“Musically melancholic and powerful, empathetic and elevated.”

“Hjälp sökes is Kristina Lugn’s brilliantly sparkling version of Bönde söker fru (Farmer seeks wife), an uninterrupted adventure in language that you want to sink into and savour in your heart. Her moving text whilst heavy with everything that hurts, frightens, and unsettles, opens up the mind to the miracles and mysteries of life.”

“Benny Andersson’s music is congenial. The folk music shimmers and once the women arrive, the farm is filled with glittering harmonies. Engelbrekt has a great tone to his voice as he sings about his longing for love. The rock song about poor Axel left on his own is a veritable hit.”

“Sofia Pekkari shines as guardian angel Hillevi. She is part fairy-tale fey, part rapping tom-boy, a secretive shepherdess displaying both empathy and existential anxiety. She speaks in metaphors and sings with clarity some of the best ballads ever penned by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.”

“When reality bursts and the farm turns into a magical circus. Suzanne Berdino allows the animal ensemble of hilarious pigs, wayward dogs, goat Kalleman, horse Douglas, cows and geese to take over the stage. It is animalistic and human, beauty with sharp humour, dung and poetry. It’s incredible.”

Aftonbladet

“Swedish peasant anxiety and sadness as seen through Kristina Lugn’s eyes. Johan Ulvesons’ comedic genius turned up to ten, some absolutely amazing new Bjorn & Benny songs, and lots of animals. Hjälp sökes is the craziest show one can see at a theatre in Sweden right now. And it is completely wonderful.”

“Benny Andersson mixes Swedish melancholy, pop, cabaret, gypsy and circus music head-on to produce wonderful melodies. But almost more impressive are Björn Ulvaeus’ lyrics . So rich, so free from clichés, so humorous, sometimes to the highest Monty Python level.”

Rating: 4/5

'Team Hjälp sökes' have a hit on their hands
‘Team ‘Hjälp sökes’ have a hit on their hands

Expressen

“Benny Andersson compositions evoke emotions in the beautiful shifting light over the brown coloured farm. The music does to the audience what trainer Berdino does with the animals.”

“Sofia Pekkari sings with such an amazingly beautiful voice that there is no point in trying to defend against fragility and sentimentality when she performs a particular highlight Den jag ville vara (The One I Wanted To Be).”

“Kristina Lugn’s script is full of light and shade, whilst Björn Ulvaeus’ song lyrics add direction in storytelling.”

“Hjälp sökes is a small musical that carries a great mystery. It exhibits an almost divine serenity. You leave Orionteatern’s 30-year anniversary show with light and warm hearts.”

Nummer Theatre Magazine

“Hjälp sökes is an unexpectedly successful collaboration between Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Kristina Lugn, where brilliant musical theatre combine with absurd drama, powerful acting and a whole bunch of animals.”

“Goat Kalleman is an acting talent himself. When Sofia Pekkari, performs the showstopper Bortom Sol och Måne (Beyond the Sun and Moon) he listens as reverently as any premiere audience.”

“It is no glittery Broadway musical in the traditional sense –  the fragrances the audience may be wearing is usurped by the smell of the barns. Director Lars Rudolfsson came up with the idea for the project, and he has turned it into reality with undeniable brilliance.”

Rating: 5/5

Eskilstuna Kuriren

“The new musical Hjälp sökes, is another great success for the fail-safe team of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.”

“Even stepping into the cool Orionteatern is exciting. The eyes cannot get enough of Johan Engberg’s amazing set design. He has transformed the shabby theatre in the Södermalm district into a real farm with all sorts of outbuildings, barns, lofts, farm implements and a large yard with a floor like a circus ring. And every night in this environment a piece of the very best realism by Kristina Lugn unfolds.”

Upsala Nya Tidning

“Hjalp sökes at Orionteatern in Stockholm is a dizzying roller coaster of experiences…brilliant in its charm…beautiful and fun.”

Swedish Radio’s Kulturnytt

“This performance is a pearl – everything is as perfect as you could wish for: Johan Ulvessons’ timing in delivery, Magnus Roosmann’s moving seriousness in the middle of comedy, and Sofia Pekkari’s immense talent.”

“Benny Andersson’s music is so immediately catchy that I can hum the melodies in my sleep after only hearing them once. Brilliantly simple but always with something more – an extra dimension.”

Related links:

The show has been widely reviewed across a variety of different publication types. The above is a cross-section of the important ones.

3 thoughts on “‘Hjälp sökes’ – the reviews are in (Updated)”

  1. Wow, and again: I’m so proud of B&B! Unfortunately, I don’t know any of the works by Kristina Lugn, and Lars Rudolfsson I only know as dragspel player. I’m looking forward to watching the piece in March.

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