The twist in this modern verse rendition of the Anglo-Saxon tale is that its sympathies lie with the monster. Grendel is here portrayed as the last of an old species which has been hounded to the verge of extinction by a destructive human race. Beowulf, here, is a virtuous hero but an arrogant warrior who treacherously kills Grendel by reneging on his oath to fight unarmed. The young cast of three avoid labouring the ecological angle and make deft use of limited resources to tell the story with concentration and economy.
Written for The Independent.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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