The Brothers Lionheart

The Brothers Lionheart was a theatre production by The Norwegian Theatre, produced in 2014, and based on the novel by Astrid Lindgren.

Svein Sturla Hungnes was responsible for the new adaption for the theatre and also directed the production.

The roles of the brothers were interpreted by Oddgeir Thune and Emil Johnsen.


(Objekt ID 41433)
Object type Production
Premiere October 3, 2014
Produced by The Norwegian Theatre
Based on The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren
Audience Children
Audience size 26998
Number of events 51
Language Norwegian Nynorsk
Keywords Performance for children, Theatre
Running period October 3, 2014  
Website Det Norske Teatret

At the website of The Norwegian Theatre the following, among other things, is written about The Brothers Lionheart:

"Rusky and Jonathan are brothers. Rusky is ill and they both know he will die. In the evenings Jonathan tells stories of the fairytale country Nangiyala. This is where Rusky will go when he dies, and one day the two of them will meet there. But the house they live in starts burning, and Jonathan jumps from the window with Rusky on his back. Jonathan dies in the fall, and he becomes the first to go to Nangiyala. With great courage Rusky meets his destiny and follows his big brother to the other side. The two brothers are pulled into an exciting story not just around the campfires in the evenings, but also playing out in horror in the darkest and scariest places imaginable."


The Norwegian Theatre,, 11.08.2014,

Import from the list of openings 11.08.2014

Performance dates
October 3, 2014 18:00 – Hovudscenen, The Norwegian Theatre Opening night
Press coverage

Lillian Bikset, Renskåret alvor (literally: Clear-cut sombreness), Dagbladet 03.10.2014:

"Svein Sturla Hungnes has chosen a performance style from the time of the campfires and fairytales. It is laden with sombreness, retelling its narrative. This creates a certain distance to the story, as does the effect of having an elderly woman, in appearance similar to Astrid Lindgren (acted by Hilde Olausson) frame the story. But The Brothers Lionheart does not deny the tough and difficult. The production dares to be sombre, and it dares to confront fears, in a manner that is down to earth and without hysteria. (...) Oddgeir Thune shows in his acting that Jonatan also feels fear, but that he tries to master it, not to scare his more openly nervous younger brother. In the role of Rusky Emil Johnsen uses some of the same tone as in the role of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, an unsentimental, sober and slightly clumsy acceptance in the meeting with brutalities his characters does not fully understand."

Mona Levin, Døden, motet og kjærligheten i Brørne Løvehjarte (literally: Death, courage and love in The Brothers Lionheart), Aftenposten 07.10.2014:

"Jonatan and Rusky are brothers, Rusky is ill, but Jonatan is the one who dies. They meet again, as Jonatan has promised, in Nangiyala, and even though that is the place for 'campfires and fairytales', evil and death rules also there. Jonatan takes up the battle for freedom and justice, his little brother opposes his own fear and follows him in all things. Thus he shows that he is 'a human being and not just a piece of dirt', and thus Astrid Lindgren brings us into her view on authoritarian regimes. In Svein Sturla Hungnes' new adaption the introduction is realistic, with lights on in the auditorium and many adults in ordinary work onstage. When lights go down he brings us into another world, one that is low-tuned and dreamy, but also dramatic and upsetting."

Anette Therese Pettersen, Dødslengsel og sorgprosesser (literally: Longing for death and processes of mourning), 09.10.2014:

"It is tempting to compare Lindgren with crime novelists such as Agatha Christie, given the complexity of the stories and the richness of detail in the dramaturgy. This hardly makes The Brothers Lionheart an easy novel to stage, and the result is that the story is prioritised at the cost of character development and changes in atmosphere. In this version the material is diminished - Rusky becomes somewhat too feeble, and his big brother Jonathan directly boasting. Tengil's guards are more comical than scary in their endless stupidity, and the difficult dangers the brothers have to overcome to save the village of Briar-Bush Valley from Tengil's claws, slide past about as easily as the boys' joy of life."