Film and TV

Game of Thrones: The Musical — This Really Happened

Red Nose Day started as a biannual telethon held by British charity organization Comic Relief to raise money for children and young people living in poverty. Its focus is on comedy, hence the red noses. Apparently the British are the last people to realize all clowns should be exterminated, preferably with the cleansing power of fire.

Last month saw the first Red Nose Day USA, with around 3.2 million people watching the inaugural three-hour broadcast that featured well-known comedians like Al Roker and David Duchovny. There were skits and reports from the field and the event was definitely a success, raising $21 million.

But the Brits have been doing this for a while, and their biggest celebrities participate, which is how you can get something like the splendid Game of Thrones: The Musical.

We kick things off with GoT's typically doom-filled credits, nicely offset by red noses inserted in various key points. Winterfell may have been a bit much, considering how many noses the Boltons have flayed this season, but maybe that's just me. The mock documentary tells us Coldplay's Chris Martin is behind the effort, with the front man revealing throughout some decent comedy chops.

Though in all honesty, the "Kardashian/Targaryen" joke would be a lot funnier coming from someone who wasn't once married to Gwyneth Paltrow.

Narrated by a (presumably) hung-over Liam Neeson, the theme running through the first half is what a terrible idea the musical is. Even Diana Rigg (Lady Olenna) slams the effort, and she may have a point: after all, a cast that (initially) consists only of a perpetually bewildered Mark Addy ("Robert Baratheon") and Iwan Rheon ("Ramsay Bolton") doesn't scream blockbuster opening night.

Things pick up when Kit Harington ("Jon Snow," or "Kit Snow," as Martin says it) shows up. With a phone call and free food, more of the cast appear. The best of these? Alfie Allen ("Theon Greyjoy"), whose awkward meeting/subsequent hug demonstrates there are no hard feelings about that castration (spoiler warning). Rheon's goofiness in this is in nice juxtaposition with the mutilating psychopath he plays on the show.

The worst? Maybe Harington singing "Wildling" (to the tune of "Wild Thing") to Rose Leslie ("Ygritte"). Fine, it isn't *that* bad; it just goes on forever. Fine, it's only a minute or so.
I just don't like Harington.
The "Red Wedding" number was also solid, or at least as entertaining as anything in Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark: "Bang. Curtains. Tony Award." And it's the success of that which brings in the star's A-listers, including a surprisingly adept Emilia Clarke ("Danaerys Targaryen") singing "Rastafarian Targaryen" and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ("Jaime Lannister") torch-singing his way through "Closer to Home," described as the "first romantic ballad about incest in Coldplay's career." Really? I must have *totally* misinterpreted "The Hardest Part," then.

Finally, as in the show itself, Peter (Tyrion Lanniser) Dinklage provides the best performance with "A Man for All Seasons (Still Goin' Strong)," a bluesy tribute(?) to GoT's many fallen characters. Whatever your thoughts on Martin or the show, this was — in the words of Douglas Adams — mostly harmless. And it's for a good cause, so stop complaining.

Still can't stand Harington, though.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar