Snagging a massively popular cultural phenomenon as the title of your show is a sure-fire way to fill a 250-seat lecture theatre at the Fringe. With Thrones! The Musical, Baby Wants Candy have taken that concept all the way to the bank for the third year running, as their parody of the omnipresent HBO show brings in crowds by the wheelbarrowload.
From the off, the cast aren’t shy about letting cats out of bags; not only do they run through a quick breakdown of all of the major shocks in the series up until now (including the very latest episode), they also drop spoilers for a whole host of other TV shows and movies. After this brash prelude, they then introduce the central construct which will hold the show together: a group of GoT geeks gather at the house of a recently divorced and understandably depressed friend on the eve of the new series to try and cheer her up, only to discover she’s never seen a single episode. As a result, they opt to act out some of the choicer scenes to bring her up to speed, spanning a lengthy cast of characters (including some surprise cameos) and a handful of silly songs designed to lampoon the series.
On the whole, it’s disappointing. There are certainly genuine moments of hilarity, and a couple of songs (the Red Wedding rap Stabbin’ and Hodor’s surprisingly tender eulogy in particular) do shine with creative quality. Having said that, many of the laughs simply rely on wheeling out our favourites and regurgitating catchphrases that have been hammed up for the stage, or good old-fashioned toilet-and-sex humour. There are a handful of insightful barbs relating to holes and inconsistencies in the plot, but even these are over-milked and over-egged, and there’s really nothing you haven’t probably already discussed with your own friends while watching. As for the “reality” scenes, they’re such prime American sitcom fodder that you can almost hear the canned laughter in the background.
The show’s climax spirals into utter farce, and though things get heavily out of hand, at least it represents another stab at creativity. It’s silly stuff from start to finish and will no doubt satisfy those with even a passing interest in the show, but it’s hard not to feel like a chance has been missed here. Westeros is such a happy hunting ground for comedy gold that plentiful wittier gags are surely there for the plucking – unfortunately, Baby Wants Candy have mostly contented themselves with just the lower hanging fruit.