If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, you may have some trouble getting to grips with what is going on in Thrones! The Musical. You will know nothing.
If you do happen to know some salient facts, such as the difference between Samwise and Samwell, you should feel right at home. If not, you may identify with the poor guy in the opening scene who admits to his geeky friends that he has never watched this epic fantasy of swords and sorcery, bare chests and blood-letting.
The premise of the show is that he clearly needs a crash course to get him up to speed. “Do you like Lord of the Rings? Do you like porn? Yes? Then you’re going to love this show!” his friend assure him, launching into song as they reel off a long list of character names, followed by a description of the most grisly deaths by poisoning, beheading and so on.
“Does everyone end up dying?” he asks. “No”, comes the reply, “Just the ones we care about…” One notable exception to this rule so far is Tyrion, played by Peter Dinklage in the TV series, whose stature as an actor outweighs his diminutive size, but who is picked up here for his peculiar pronunciation of “Westeros”.
If you’ve seen a series or two but aren’t up to date, be warned – here be spoilers – not just from Game of Thrones but also a few from iconic movies thrown in for good measure, so look away now: “In Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis is dead… Rosebud’s a sled…”
Hearthrob Jon Snow sports a magnificent mane and is given a special homage in a reimagining of the theme tune of Frozen with the lyrics “He’s Jon Snow, he’s Jon Snow!”
A few unexpected additions are thrown in towards the end, including a cameo role for George R R Martin, author of the Ice and Fire series of books on which Game of Thrones is based.
The show from Baby Wants Candy has the luxury of an unusually large cast for a fringe production, and the ten-strong team do their epic best to cover as many characters as they can in an hour.
As they reinvent the plot to create “The ending we want, where everyone we like is alive!” Martin’s work is celebrated yet subverted with a ripple of laughter and the warm glow of a happy ending.
Review by Anglea Lord
Thrones! the Musical is at Assembly, George Square Studios, Edinburgh, until 31 August.
Sunday 30th August 2015