Theatre Review: GRAEME OF THRONES – The Lowry, Salford

Graeme of Thrones

GRAEME OF THRONES is a bonkers but brilliant parody of George RR Martin’s epic novels

Direct from sold out shows in London’s West End, GRAEME OF THRONES warped incarnation of Westeros heads to Salford’s The Lowry this week for a unique theatrical journey through the Seven Kingdoms.

Based on the international phenomenon Game Of Thrones, GRAEME OF THRONES tells the story of avid ‘Thrones’ fan Graeme who wants to recreate his favourite fantasy saga on stage. Aided by his best friend Paul and Bryony, the girl he used to fancy at school, the threesome attempt to recreate the Seven Kingdoms with no budget, no cast members and no performance skills. But when news reaches them that an influential theatrical producer is in the building, Graeme decides that this could be his big break, just as long as nothing goes wrong.

Slick, silly and hilariously funny, GRAEME OF THRONES is a bonkers but brilliant parody of George RR Martin’s epic novels. Toby Park, Andrew Doyle and Dan Evans’ sharp script revels in the extravagance of the original with its hilarious re-enactments, ingenious character parodies and moments of lunacy.

The play is given a deliberate micro-budget feel with Director Sam Bailey mining much of the humour from the glaring discrepancy between HBO’s sumptuous visuals and Graeme’s creaky set and makeshift costumes. There’s plenty of sticky-tape props and creative reworkings of iconic moments such as Melisandre’s labour, the death of Ned Stark, the infamous Red Wedding and even the opening title sequence.

Ali Brice, Ceri Murphy and Libby Northedge form the small but talented cast who play multiple characters in the cack-handed production, winning over the audience with their quick comic timing and lighting quick costume changes. Brice shines as the po-faced and geeky Graeme, oblivious to the show’s flaws and keen to impress Cameron McIntyre. But the show really belongs to Ceri Murphy as mild-mannered tecchie Paul who turns when the pressure gets too much and Libby Northedge as the super-intense and conniving Bryony.

For all its comic calamity, the production isn’t without its flaws. Some of the gags are a little predictable and there is some silliness involving puppet dragons. I also wasn’t keen on the backstage sections in which the ‘actors’ bicker with each other, mainly because the funnier sketches are happening ‘on stage’.

The show is also very much a production for fans of the original novels or HBO’s adaptation. Much of the content relies heavily on you knowing your Winterfell from your Casterly Rock and many of the character parodies and in-jokes would mean nothing unless you’re a fan.

That said, there are plenty of chuckles to be had, particularly the grisly fight between Prince Oberyn Martell and The Mountain (played by an audience member) and the love song medley between Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen spoken in incomprehensible Dothraki language.

If you’re a fan of the book or the TV series, you’re sure to love GRAEME OF THRONES but make sure you catch it soon before the inevitable lawsuit comes calling.

3.5 out of 5 stars

GRAEME OF THRONES performs at The Lowry on 10 May 2016