Graeme of Thrones brings ambitious hilarity to Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre
(This review probably contains spoilers!) Seeing Graeme of Thrones at the Panasonic Theatre last night was quite an experience for my Game of Thrones-loving soul! What I thought was going to be pure parody turned out to be more.
Graeme (Ali Brice) is just trying to get his play mounted — with no budget, and without getting sued by HBO (where the real Game of Thrones is aired). When he hears that a theatre big-name may be in the crowd, he does his best to entice the “investors” to donate to his show — an homage to the super popular fantasy series based on the books of George R. R. Martin.
Firstly, I need to emphasize that this was a HILARIOUS show. Running mascara hilarious. Stomach pains, wheezing, snorting hilarious. I literally heard people snorting in laughter all night.
Not only was it funny, but it was outrageous and ambitious. We were quite shocked at some of the scenes they decided to play out on stage. That only three actors played a myriad of characters made for some interesting costume choices. When Bryony’s (Libby Northedge) Daenerys came out in a long platinum wig and black tape over her eyebrows, I lost all remaining sense of composure. Fans of the show will know what this means.
Scenes such as the Red Wedding, Melisandre Birthing the Shadow Demon (my favourite scene of the whole night, it was incredibly epic and fun), and the Birth of the Dragons were all amazing choices to re-create on stage. There was this “Oh. My. Gosh. they are GOING THERE!” sense present throughout the crowd for most of the two hours. (Warning: Links mentioned here contain images of nudity and violence.)
I went in hoping for a full-blown parody of one of my all time favourite shows. I feel as though just owning the fact that it is a parody, rather than setting it up as a story of trying to get a serious stage show mounted—with a small budget resulting in cheesy results—might have worked much better.
Between the plentiful bouts of hilarity, my companion Caryhn and I found ourselves slightly bored at times listening to the (somewhat unnaturally) awkward Graeme speak very slowly. Some scenes were needlessly prefaced with descriptions and back stories, while others were wild and fast.
The emphasis on the relationships between the three cast members — Graeme (Brice), Bryony (Libby Northedge), and Paul (Michael Condron – who actually played Bowen Marsh in the TV series) — while at times funny, was perhaps a bit too detailed and involved. Basically, it had a few pacing issues.
I’m not saying a whole other format would be better, just that a bit less of the characters’ backstories, idiosyncrasies, and explanations would have moved things along nicely. More “Mother of Dragons” and less “The Chick Graeme wanted To Bang In High School”.
I don’t want to reveal much more about the specific scenes, because Game of Thrones fans are notoriously salty about spoilers. This brings me to my final point about this show: In my opinion, it is NOT for everyone. It is for fans of the show, specifically. Amidst the howls, we did notice a few people who didn’t laugh once, and a few of them failed to return after intermission.
I think that some of the humour would be funny on its own, but almost all of it was direct and specific references to the show. But that’s OK! You still have to time watch the show’s six seasons and catch Graeme of Thrones before it wraps on October 23. Alright, that might be a bit ambitious, but so is this. If you’re a fan, you may regret not checking it out. Winter is coming, after all.
- Graeme of Thrones is playing until October 23, 2016 at Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street).
- Shows run Tuesday to Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 7pm and 10:30pm, with an additional matinee on Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, and Sunday at 5pm.
- Ticket prices range from $39.95 to $99.00, and are available online.
- Audience Advisory: contains adult content, strobe lights, haze, fog, herbal cigarettes, and loud noises. This performance is suitable for ages 17+.
Photo provided by the company