Game of Thrones, HBO’s cultural juggernaut, is quite possibly the most bombastic, outrageous and operatic thing on television right now. With the seventh season currently gripping the nation, it’s easy to see why a show which centres around the world of Westeros would be so popular and lucrative at this year’s Fringe. Unfortunately, this show is neither bombastic nor outrageous and proves operatic in the worst possible way.
It’s worth noting to begin with that there are many ideas in Thrones! The Musical (even that exclamation mark irks me) which would, in better hands, have worked. For instance, the show’s final ‘twist’, in which one of the cast reveals themselves to be author George R.R. Martin in disguise, before turning the knife on his fans for propagating fan fiction, in a parody of the infamous Red Wedding, could be a potentially interesting meditation on fandom which strays into fanaticism. Also, the closing section, which featured an acapella Hodor-based song, demonstrated how good this show could have been if scaled back and treated with greater simplicity.
‘this show is neither bombastic nor outrageous and proves operatic in the worst possible way’
Unfortunately, Thrones! The Musical chose to play up to every truism about Game of Thrones and its fan base, from the tired adage that ‘the books are better than the films’ to the conflicted sense of enjoyment when watching the show, culminating in the boringly vulgar exchange of ‘I don’t know whether to cry or masturbate? / Why choose? I never do.’ I couldn’t fault the cast’s singing and dancing ability, particularly given the aforementioned Hodor section, but their characterisation became increasingly grating as the show progressed, particularly when they operated the conceit of using the performance as an excuse to bring an uninitiated viewer up to speed for the new season. The fan fiction section at the end also included the inexplicable inclusion of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter characters, without any reference to how those two universes might connect to this one. A particularly lazy comparison was ‘if you like Lord of the Rings AND porn, you’ll love this’. This might be funny if it was the type of idiotic remark you’ve most likely overheard or made down the pub after a few.
On the whole, I’d encourage any Game of Thrones fans, hardcore or otherwise, to avoid this show and, for those who’ve never seen it, I frankly can’t imagine what you’d get out of it anyway.
Assembly George Square Studios – One, 2nd – 28th August, 16:55
Image: Spark Creative