Charing Cross Theatre, London – until 11 November 2017
“It’s going to be Hodorable…” If you haven’t seen an episode of Game of Thrones, I’m not entirely why you would want to come and see a show that spoofs it lovingly if relentlessly. The blurb for Graeme of Thrones mentions it could be seen as “an introduction for the unenlightened” but let’s be frank, to expect a rapid-fire comedy show to catch you up on seven seasons of intricately plotted fantasy drama and enable you to get such puns as the one above is to make you as naive as, well, Ned Stark.
But for the initiated, there’s lots to enjoy in this madcap which rattle through an inordinate amount of material in its 90 minutes and still barely scratches the surface of the Seven Kingdoms. From its hilarious re-enactment of the opening credits to the arrival of actual dragons*, John-Luke Roberts, Nicola Lamont and Ross Spaine work overtime to take us from Westeros to Essos and back and cover as much of the plot as they can shoehorn in, along with jokes at many of the tropes it fully embraces.
And a fair amount of it is properly funny. The introduction of the Stark children (poor Rickon!), the shifts in perspective needed to bring Bran’s fall to life or to convince us of Tyrion’s height, Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s predilection for love duets… And when they really cut loose, it is hilarious, as in channeling the Lord of Light via some Berlin gay fetish dungeon, giving us a tableau vivant from the viewpoint of the boar that killed Robert Baratheon, and Sansa’s vivid journey to womenhood.
As with much comedy, there’s a variable hit-rate though, as here that mainly comes through the framing device of a theatre company pitching this show to potential investors, unable to keep their personal lives from bleeding through into the action. As necessary as these breaks are, to allow the performers a little breathing space and time to change costumes, the notion of Lloyd Webber or an HBO lawyer being in the audience is just not as funny as the amount of time it is given here.
But Graeme of Thrones isn’t the type of show to examine too closely. Programmed into the late slot at the Charing Cross (10pm starts means it is nearly 11.30pm when you’re done), you’re best off going with the flow, sinking a pint or three or however much it takes for you to giggle at the daftest of jokes, and preparing yourself for some potential light audience participation. Inventive and irreverent, it’s ideal late night entertainment.