Reviews //

A Musical of Thrones

Katie Thorburn reviews the original musical playing at the Sydney Fringe.

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CW: Spoilers

Musical of Thrones is a musical first and foremost. Moonboy Productions have taken the popular TV show, Game of Thrones, and built well-fleshed song and dance numbers out of it.

The plot and characters are explored through emotional musical moments, as well as presented as comedic interpretations. A big congratulation must go to the quality of the score. The band sounded great and the songs were very impressive.

The production mined some casting gems. Several of the cast had a natural aptitude for caricaturing the larger-than-life GoT characters. Theo Murray exploited the natural resource of his deep voice as Robert Baratheon and was welcomed back with utter delight as the “Hodor”,  carrying his man-child backpack, Bran, played by Bruno Dubosarsky.

Moonboy would have been over-the-moon to find Madi Halls to play Ygritte. With not only look-alike-competition standard physical features, killer vocals for the emotional story arc of her character (and the main romance of the show), Halls also nailed the accent of the Wildling. Daniel Cullen also played a realistic and nervous Snow opposite Madi’s strength; with a knack for the Jon Snow accent and Samuel Pearson was an easy choice for Joffrey with a scrunched up and menacing face.

Even in other minor roles, this malleable face often became the centre of attention. Justine Landis-Hanley created a fiery Cersei, and her and Jaime’s (played by Aarin Starkey) scene of pushing Bran from the window (GoT spoilers) was more captivating than what I remember from (binge watching the first five seasons early last year) the HBO version. Some incredible vocals came from Lizzy Blower as Catelyn Stark and Emma Druitt as Sansa. Blower embodied a stunning matriarch to watch and with clearly strong ability to pace, it’s disappointing that these female characters weren’t given more comedic role in the adaptation.

Costuming was outstanding from the first reveal. With a budget not even comparable to HBO, Ashleigh Vissel capturing of the characters was phenomenal. HBO will definitely be calling, Vissel, for help on season 7.

The song for Tyrion’s “trial by combat” was inspired and a much appreciate twist. The lyrics pack some absolute punches and a feather in the hat of Cullen’s already impressive array of lyrics. The set was minimal albeit for black boxes that provided some dynamic use of the space. With the iconic scenery of GoT providing much inspiration it is probably through a lack of time and budget that a golden Westeros was unrealistic, however it would have added some colour. Most of the added comedic interpretations could be seen as quite boyish humour. Some of this low brow fart jokes made for an easy viewing experience, providing tension release from artfully created songs.

However, other some of the interpretations bordered on questionable such as the (also too easy to make) interpretation of the real motive behind joining the Night’s Watch. This was also overdone especially when there was hardly any feature of Daenerys Targaryen story; which was only used to make a joke on Jorah’s relationship to Dani – which has already been tirelessly done by memes. As the premise is so well known, and audience members are surely walking in because they are fans of the show, the laying out of the plot seemed excessive.

This took time away from the development and comedic engagement of other characters, but any critiques could be accounted for by the first run of an original piece limited by production time and stretched resources. I would love to see a second run after time allowed for the comedy to be strengthened. Perhaps more assistant comedy writers could add to this.

All in all the production is an enjoyable night out for any Game of Thrones fan. The production is an absolute credit to Daniel Cullen and the production team. Tali M-K certainly had her hands full as producer, and co-music directors, Belinda Robinson and Oli Cameron, brought the original songs to life.

I’m in absolute awe of Daniel Cullen’s multifaceted hand in this production (devisor, writer, composer, director and actor) and will be first to any more originals that he does: which I hope and am sure he will do!