Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Thrones! The Musical Parody – Review

Do you like Lord of the Rings? Do you like porn? Did you think the blonde girl was taking too long to cross the desert and could’ve done with a song or two? This might be the show for you…

The epic novel series, Game of Thrones, became a TV giant; now see the latest greatest story ever told come to the stage, with fire and blood and jazz hands. Critically acclaimed musical improv group Baby Wants Candy return to the Edinburgh Fringe for a third time with an updated version of their show Thrones! The Musical Parody.

Audiences are invited to join Linda and her friends as they host a GoT premiere/Divorce Celebration party, but upon finding out that Linda’s never actually seen the show, her friends’ horror fuels an impromptu performance of the show so-far to catch her up. Covering all the major stops, from a certain beheading in season one all the way past Ed Sheeran singing in a forest, and up to the latest episodes, the cast of eight take on the biggest names and events from HBO’s crown jewel and put on a genuinely original and tremendous show.

Thrones The Musical Parody
Photo: Garrett Palm

The minimal set design lends itself to a person-centric performance, relying on props for fewer than a handful of jokes throughout the show. Using the same basic layout for both the modern scenes at the GoT party and those in Westeros works well, blending the two into one narrative. Where the first return to the fans in the apartment jars slightly after the earliest numbers, it’s no longer an issue by the time the second jump between settings comes around.

While each performer skilfully lambasts their characters, Meg Reilly stands out as a petulant Joffrey and as Daenerys Stormborn, of House Targaryan, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, The Unburnt, The Breaker of Chains… But the writers prove their true Frey lineage by gracefully stabbing the hearts of audiences with Eric Michaud’s ‘Hold the Door’.

Explaining the gut-wrenching spirit put into this performance is about as hard to surmise as Hodor’s place in fan’s hearts: soft acapella humming, rising to stomping crescendo, Michaud summons so much emotion and spirit that it’s as easy to imagine him on Parisian barricades as it is buying time for Bran Stark.

Obviously, a musical parody based on 7 seasons of television content and 7 novels contains at least a few spoilers, but the opening number also includes details about the endings of Star Wars, The Usual Suspects, and The Sixth Sense. That’s not to say you can’t come if you’re not a fan of GoT, audiences are sure to be entertained regardless of their interest in the show, but you will have to have a strong stomach.

Thrones! brings the most controversial issues of the show into the spotlight with hilarity. If you’re phased by the thought of twin Lannisters encouraging each other to ‘fuck away our grief’ then The Red Wedding put to rap might push you over the line. While ‘Stabbin’ is as entertaining as it is gruesome, it’s as gruesome as it is entertaining; come prepared to hate yourself for enjoying it.

The parody doesn’t concern itself with balancing satire against sincerity, deciding to lambast the show with love and apply the unquestionable musical talents of Baby Wants Candy to what is clearly a beloved show for the cast, crew, and audiences alike. Already selling out numerous shows at this year’s Fringe, the run is certain to reach the sell-out heights of their recent shows in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and previous Fringe appearances.

Thrones! The Musical Parody runs from 5th-28th August for £15pp at Studio One, Assembly George Square. Baby Wants Candy runs from 5th-27th August for £15pp at Studio One, Assembly George Square. 

Published by The Student Advertiser, 14/08/17

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