On March 27th the long awaited performance of Game of Thrones: The Pantomime took to the LCR stage. I was looking forward to the pantomime, as it had been on my radar for a long time – I even remember early and tentative posts about it on various university related Facebook pages in my first year.
The show retold the first season of the popular TV show from the perspective of Joffrey, a choice that threw the characters into more stereotyped pantomime roles. We saw Ned Stark worked into a traditional and exaggerated villain, who the audience quickly took to booing on and off the stage, while Cersei was transformed from a cunning and cold ruler into a distracted wife and overly devoted mother.
The audience appeared to be unsure of the pantomime at first, with some scattered responses in the opening scene, but then quickly took to the cast and the easy humour of the show. The subversive retelling was the sort of randomised event that would only have been successful at a university, but the cast and writers had a self-awareness that catered to the student viewers exceptionally well. Unsurprisingly, the performance featured a lot of audience participation and interaction between on and offstage personalities. These were perhaps some of the best bits of the show, quickly creating a bond between the performers and the audience that felt as though we were all in Joffrey’s journey together.
My favourite decision that the writers made was the transformation of Littlefinger’s character from an intelligent, sneaky threat to an underwhelming criminal partner for Ned Stark. The practical decision of giving the actor very small hands was hilarious, and his moments of drawn-out physical struggle stole the show for me.
Overall, I felt that the audience and performers were brought together by a heightened awareness of what the pantomime was: a silly but incredibly entertaining piece of student theatre. The pantomime as a project felt endearing and homegrown and was supported by the audience who fiercely wanted the performance to succeed, myself included. I was really impressed by the performances of the actors – in their place I don’t think I could have made it very far without descending into laughter. Game of Thrones: The Pantomime was a delightful way to spend an evening in the midst of pre-Easter stress, and I think many of the audience members would be disappointed if this didn’t trigger the creation of a Pantomime society, which was suggested at the end of the evening.