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ABSOLUTELY HEARTENING AND ENJOYABLY ENERGETIC

Print Version

GAME OF THINGS
Presented by PlayShop

at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 26 Jun 2013 to 29 Jun 2013

Reviewed by Maraea Rakuraku, 27 Jun 2013


Still traumatised by THAT episode of Season 3 and having not really made it through the third book, A Storm of Swords, I was looking forward to Game of Things and I am not disappointed. It is fun. Part of that is aided along by an opening night's good-natured crowd of largely 20 somethings.

The box office foyer at Bats is abuzz as a caped woman with a clipboard moves amongst those waiting.  It's not until we're seated that it's revealed that's how this improvisation has garnered audience offerings.  With some rowdy audience participation elements that will contribute to the show, the offers are selected and written on a blackboard as reminders. 

The set is cool with banners hanging from the roof that reflect the crests of each House. If I was in the cast I'd be wrestling for those once the season ends.  Sollective, rightly so, are credited with the beautiful work.  Emma van den Eykel is responsible for the graphic design work which is outstanding. The capes are simple and very effective costuming.

If you're familiar with the Game of Thrones series you'll recognise the subtle play on imagery and wording and appreciate how well-shaped Game of Things is as a result. But it's the riff on some of the character names that gets bursts of laughter throughout the performance (and to my shame I didn't record or can recall).  They are that funny.

The musician, Oliver Devlin is brilliant. I forget that while he knows the structure of the story he too is making it up as he goes along. He's so seamless with transitions. Same for lighting, Antony Goodin. Nice job. The opening scenes are beautifully choreographed and very very funny.  This crew isn't afraid to ham it up.

This is how much I'm enjoying it, I'm starting to see physical resemblances between the players and the actors from the series – ‘Jeffrey' is quite mesmerising as the loathsome Joffrey Baratheon and ‘Jay Z' as Jamie Lannister.  Some of the characters are more developed than others.  The males especially so. Although saying that, some of the female characters are, literally, up-for-it.  If there's one thing Game of Thrones is known for, its sex, and in Game of Things, there's a lot of it. All tasteful of course. 

It's only towards the end they start to lose their way a little – but so what? It's been an absolutely heartening and enjoyably energetic 60 minutes. 

My single criticism is that there are key characters missing.  I hope Tyrion, Arya (whatever their monikers are) and the other direwolves make an appearance over the next three nights, as an episode an evening features until a double billing finale on Saturday night. Even if they don't I urge you to book seats and trek it to Bats out-of-site, Dixon Street.  It's selling out fast.
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