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LORD OF THRONES – the 10th annual London 50-Hour Improvathon

The 50 Hour London Improvathon 2017 - Photo Claire Bilyard
The 50 Hour London Improvathon 2017 – Photo Claire Bilyard

As I collect my tickets I ask are they really doing this, 50 hours of continuous improv comedy? The cashier delightedly reassures me that they are, and he’s working the first few and last shifts to see both sides of the ridiculousness.

A real Olympic endurance test of comedy sees the amalgamation of Game of Thrones and Lord of The Rings through 25 2-hour ‘episodes’, with 15-minute breaks for the cast and audience to get a drink. Notably, the programme makes a distinct differentiation between the ‘Cast Attempting the full 50 hours’ and ‘Guest Cast’. If you’ve ever wanted to see ‘Jon Bastard’, ‘Daenerys Tricardigan’, Kate Bush, Sean Bean, Hilary Clinton, Gandalf, ‘Miguel Flatley’, and ‘Column’ sharing a candle in a tavern this is your opportunity.

Whilst I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones, it can be so dry at times and this production shines a light on the funnier talking points of the show; Incest, the volume of featured prostitutes and the habit of Lannisters always paying their debts then killing their creditor to take back the money to name a few.

Wilton’s Musical Hall itself is an intimate venue but through using a minimalistic catalogue of props (mainly the throne, a dead tree, a trellis and a few shields) they manage to make it work, with the cast spilling into the audience aisles in scenes where they aren’t needed.

I can’t really fault the production as the audience including myself were roaring with laughter, meeting the primary objective. It didn’t really feel so much of a company of actors, rather a group of friends doing it to make each other laugh, with it being a coincidence that an audience was present. However, towards the end of the episode, I was beginning to get frustrated with the somewhat unconnected 5-minute sketches fading to black. Whilst the plot loosely trails alongside the Game of Thrones linear timeline of events, I didn’t really see the plot developing in its own right, other than a collection of separate sketches which to some may become quite tedious to the long haul viewers of the show.

This play is probably still going on, so if you find yourself passing through Whitechapel, pop over to Wilton’s Music Hall and you won’t be disappointed. I’m very tempted to go back.

4 stars

Review by Thomas Jones

The cream of the improv crop will descend on Wilton’s Music Hall for a four-night festival as 2016 Olivier Award winners, The Showstoppers, in association with Extempore Theatre & Something for the Weekend present The 2017 London Jam (Monday 16 – Thursday 19 January), culminating in LORD OF THRONES – the 10th anniversary London 50-Hour Improvathon.

Boasting a stellar line-up of home-grown spontaneous talent from Mischief Theatre – the Olivier-Award winning creators of The Play That Goes Wrong; Chortle Award-winning Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, The Glenda J Collective and members of The Showstoppers themselves, plus Canadian legends The Sufferettes, Oslo’s Almost Ibsen and the UK premiere of The Dungeons & Dragons Show. Also featuring the all-new Ken Campbell Caper Competition – a day-long ‘improv-battle’ starring improvisers from around the globe, originally conceived by legendary theatre maverick Ken Campbell. With two shows each evening (and three on the Wednesday!), this is an uproarious season, perfect for comedy fans and improv newbies alike.

Playing annually since 2008, this theatrical marathon gathers some of the funniest performers from all over the world every year to appear as guests (dropping in for a few hours) or as main characters going the whole 50 hour mind-bending sleep- defying distance.

After 30 hours without sleep, performers become too tired to censor themselves. Hilarious, unpredictable, and unlike anything else, this is theatre at its most exciting.

Come for one episode, or a few, or join the party and stay for the whole thing!

Lord of Thrones
Dates: Friday 20 to Sunday 22 January 2017
Times: Runs for 50 hours, each
episode starting every 2 hours.

Wilton’s Music Hall
1 Graces Alley London E1 8JB
Box Office: 020 7702 2789


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