by Chris Grace, Zach Reino, Albert Samuels, Nick Semar, Dan Wessels
Director: Chris Grace
Musical Director: Douglas Drew
Photographer: Prudence Upton
The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House until June 30
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
Having never seen Game of Thrones, I accepted an invitation to the opening night of "Thrones! The Musical Parody" at the Sydney Opera House. It didn't matter that I didn't understand the references, the amazingly talented American cast ensured that it was hugely entertaining.
Six friends have gathered to watch the final episode of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones in Linda’s apartment on the 19th of May this year. Linda is the only one in the group who isn’t familiar with the phenomenon and the others are fanatics.
To bring Linda (Leslie Collins) up to speed before watching the conclusion, Brad (Eric Michaud), Tom (Jordan Stidham), Nicole (Ashley Ward), Jen (Mary Lou Kolbenschlag) and Ross (Albert Samuels) feel compelled to enact all of the main and recurring characters in some of the significant scenes that established the main plot lines.
That device is ingenious for ensuring that non-fans would also be engaged. Last week, in contrast, I attended a Harry Potter-based musical and related to none of it.
Add some local references and other pop culture icons, and the interest is increased.
Included are mentions of Donald Trump, Star Wars, Michael Bolton and Harry Potter, and the evil King Joffrey proudly announces that his role model is George Pell. There is a two-handed Vaudeville routine using boater hats and canes and a song in the Doo-wop style.
Director Chris Grace had his work cut out. At times the production is fast-moving with numerous costume changes that mainly involve a change of wig and outer garment. The timing of the comedy and choreography needs to be precise to make the whole thing work, which it does for two reasons. Grace spent many performances in the cast, playing Brad. Now in that role is Eric Michaud who is extremely nimble for a large man and he really sells his rendition of “Hold The Door”, which could have been a battle cry in Les Miz. In all, there are eighteen musical numbers.
Secondly, the cast members are comfortable with each other, which engenders mutual trust, and it’s apparent that each has done their share of improv.
Thrones! The Musical Parody is truly an ensemble piece in which all of the performers are equally highly skilled triple threats. Although it’s firmly in the American Musical genre, it has an edginess that’s reminiscent of Forbidden Broadway, a New York City production that has been parodying current Broadway musicals since 1982.
Even if you haven’t seen a minute of Game of Thrones, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Thrones! The Musical Parody, and if you’re already a fan, you’d better book because there’s the potential of it deservedly playing to full audiences. As a value-add the cast will later pose with you for photo ops on the throne in the foyer.