Game of Thrones inspires a new improv comedy show

  • Poorva Joshi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 15, 2016 14:22 IST
Members of Improv Comedy Mumbai at a rehearsal (Photo: Aalok Soni/HT; Location courtesy: Cuckoo Club by Hive, Mumbai)

Remember Goldilocks? Imagine her in the dark, power-hungry world of Game of Thrones. And instead of the cosy bear home, she wanders into a brothel. Why? Because it’s the one setting the Game of Thrones universe has in abundance.

“She is still the same: a young girl taking her pick. She even uses her punchline from the original fairy tale: ‘You are too hot, you are too cold. But you, you are just perfect.’ In a brothel. It’s hilarious,” says comedian Naveen Kaushik.

This is what happens when five comedians come together for an improvised comedy show around Game of Thrones. Think new characters, unassuming plots and pop culture crossovers from other fiction universes.

The show is inspired by the popular TV series, Game of Thrones

Ahead of their premiering show — Game of Thrones Popcorn — we meet Improv Comedy Mumbai (ICM), one of the oldest improvised comedy groups in the city, at Cuckoo Club in Bandra.

Dressed in linen pants, printed shirts, and a custom-made red robe and gold-en crown the Lannisters would approve of, the comedians promise a conjured version of the sinister TV series, with a comic twist.

An idea is born

The idea to pick GoT as a theme for an improv show first occurred to comedian Yogesh Upadhyay in January. “I have been a fan of the TV series as well as A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George RR Martin. The entire series revolves around power equations and class structures. In India, we witness these concepts in the open, every day,” says Upadhyay.

Though Kaushik was initially sceptical of taking it forward, he slowly warmed up to the idea. “I realised that all the deaths in the series are actually funny. It’s sadistic humour. The show runners wait for you to root for a character, and then, they are killed. They essentially play with your emotions,” he says.

Interestingly, it was this love for the characters that had the group sold on the idea. “Look at the White Walkers - they just have to stare intently at the camera, spread their arms like Shah Rukh Khan and everybody is running for their lives. There is a lot of comic content to exploit,” says Kaushik.

Attention to detail

Though comic deviations abound, the team says they have strict ground rules: mandatory research of the original story, and adherence to costume and accent authenticity. During our meeting, which also happened to be the group’s first costume trial, the attention to detail was evident.

Also read: Game of Thrones has deviated sharply from the books, here’s how

“Our shirt buttons can’t be seen, and pants need to be tucked into our shoes. I hope you can act without your glasses,” says Upadhyay to Kaushik. The latter promptly gets rid of his spectacles and throws a black robe over his shoulders. “I will make a more believable Aemon Targaryen: I won’t be faking blindness, I will really be blind,” Kaushik says, mimicking actor Peter Vaughan’s voice from the show.

And though the group admits it isn’t always easy to find humour in a dark and dystopian world, they are happy about what they have created. “Throughout our rehearsals, we doubled up with laughter at a particularly funny sequence that put the show in a very different light for us. Now we want the audience to feel the same,” says Upadhyay.

Laugh away

What: Game of Thrones Popcorn will open on April 16, 8.20pm

Where: Cuckoo Club, next to Learner’s Academy, Pai Hill, Bandra(W)

Call: 98209 98790

Tickets: Rs 400

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