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Entries in Game of Thongs: A Game of Thrones Burlesque [2015] (1)


Game of Thongs: A Game of Thrones Burlesque (2015)

Incest Dance Squad

It's no secret that the winter months are a box office graveyard. Why leave the house to watch mediocre studio embarrassments when, as Jack Black sang at the Oscars, we've all got "screens in our jeans"? Chicago's Gorilla Tango Burlesque has been fighting--and winning--that battle for years with hilarious, sexy stage shows based on pop culture staples. Lovingly satirizing everything from Star Wars to Batman to The Walking Dead, the brains behind the boobs have earned their theatre's moniker, "Provocative Parody for the Discerning Nerd". 

I've been a huge fan of every show I've seen. But something needled me after each performance. When writing my review, a teeeeny, high-pitched voice would invariably whine, "Yeah, but what if you weren't a fan of [INSERT NAME HERE]? Would you still find it funny, or is it really all about the pasties?" I ignored these questions and carried on with the praise. After all, I was birthed in media culture and couldn't imagine my radar not reaching even the furthest corners of the pop landscape.

Hand to God, I've never seen Game of Thrones. The "Don't Have HBO" excuse died when Season One hit Hulu. In my defense, I'm an old dad now, with two jobs, a podcast, and a wife who (understandably) doesn't care to watch beheadings and child murder at the end of a long day. I'm attuned enough to know that Sean Bean didn't stay the hero of the series for very long; I've seen "The Red Wedding's" climax on YouTube;* and I totally get why Jason Momoa deserves a lot of slack, even though his Aquaman looks ridiculous.

Which begs the (seriously long-winded) question, "How does Game of Thongs stack up for audience members unfamiliar with the source material?"

Simply put: wonderfully.

Like other Gorilla Tango productions, the show being parodied serves merely as a point of reference for a goofy original story. I'm sure it helps if you know how all the Lannisters are related, and can understand why sprinkling someone with gold glitter to represent a spell is especially uproarious. However, writer Polly Pom Poms tells a complete story in sixty minutes, involving incest, dragon eggs, and a nosy, wall-climbing kid. It all made perfect sense to me--except when the character dynamics became impossibly tangled, which became a running joke.

I've probably said this before but, personally, the thrill of Gorilla Tango Burlesque shows has never been the nudity. I certainly don't mind seeing fearless, mostly naked women leaping and gyrating across an intimate black-box stage. But, in keeping with my mainstream-movie comment above, I've got free access to way raunchier stuff on my iPhone. No, GTB is a live-action version of Airplane!, packed with sight gags, asides, and skewed-angle thinking that elicit the best kind of laughs. The comedy works on multiple levels, from MAD Magazine character names (the "Stark Naked" clan and the world of "Breasteros") to the radio-hits dance numbers (a brother and sister get busy to Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now"; dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen--played by Minnie Minx--comes into her own, accompanied by Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire") to a brilliant, think-and-you'll-miss-it Love Actually reference.

Of course, a good script is only one part of any great production. Director Adelaide Lee, choreographer Jean Wildest, and their cast of comedically gifted screwballs put on a tight show. I've become a fan of Bailey Irish, who I last saw playing The Emperor in GTB's Return of the Jedi parody, Boobs on Endor. Here, she pulls double duty as wild-eyed sneak Bran Stark Naked and calculating mastermind Tyrion Lannister. Margueritte MeOw injects Cersei Lannister with just the right amount of crazy, and Minx excels at both seduction and silliness.

Game of Thongs passed the Newcomer Test, as well as the Crushing Fatigue Test. By the time I left the theatre, I'd been zipping from place to place, project to project for twenty hours. Typically, this is the recipe for a good crash (sleepwise and otherwise). The GTB folks cast their spell on me again, though, and my mind buzzed with desire--not to watch Game of Thrones, but to see Game of Thongs again.

Game of Thongs is now playing Friday nights at 10:30pm at GTT's Bucktown venue in Chicago, IL. For more information, and to purchase tickets, click here.