From November 13 to 15, We Know Nothing: Monologues of Ice and Fire ran at the Cultch’s Culture Lab in East Vancouver. Hilarious and witty, this original production by writers Alison Ross and Courtney Shrumm was the debut show from new theatre company Mad House Productions.
The production made fun of Game of Thrones while still paying loving homage. The pun in the title set the tone for the show, which was done as a series of monologues intermingled with narration by actor Michael McIntyre, playing the book series’ beloved author, George R.R. Martin.
The scene opened with a brilliant rendition of the TV show’s opening theme, done on seven-string guitar by local musician Ruel Morales. We were then introduced to the man of the hour, George R.R. Martin himself, reclined in a chair draped with a knit blanket emblazoned with house sigils. Then, one by one, the audience got to know old Georgie’s favourite characters that, alas, had been killed off in each of the five books in the series, along with a bonus character from his upcoming book.
As he so eloquently called them, “the expendables of Westeros” were brought to life on the stage in a most comedic manner. The minimalistic set, along with distinctive costuming, helped bring the focus to the actors.
The performances were excellent, and were brought together seamlessly by the narrative prowess of McIntyre, who was quite convincing as Martin. The other five actors were equally engaging, bringing high energies and excellent audience interactions into each scene.
We were first introduced to great comedic timing in the form of The Seer of Essos, played by Kenneth Tynan. He played quite the hilarious horny old lady in a performance reminiscent of Rafiki from The Lion King. The Romeo of Flea Bottom was brought to life in a gut-splitting performance by Ryan Hache. From his strip-tease to his heartfelt and impassioned declaration of love, Hache delivered boundless energy and charisma.
Next was Nathaniel Gordon, with a stand-up routine style monologue in his performance as The Red Wedding Singer. Bedecked in matching hats with guitarist Morales, the pair delivered a delightful musical act with excellently overwrought lyrics halfway. Chelsey Stuyt, playing Susan Sand (the other Sand Snake), gave a delightfully awkward performance. Her portrayal of a comedian with serious daddy issues and an inferiority complex was absolutely brilliant.
Then came Keegan Flick-Parker, the show’s co-producer and director with Chris Nyarady, playing The Jackass on the Wall. Flick-Parker made a thoroughly convincing thug, giving a wonderfully intense performance. His drunken frostbite makeup by SFU grad Justin Saint helped complete the look wonderfully. The night ended with a hilarious monologue by McIntyre performed through a gorgeously designed dragon puppet.
In a short interview with the writers, Shrumm said the inspiration for the show came from things they were frustrated with in Game of Thrones. She said that in the writing they wanted to “make fun of the rude and crudeness of it,” and show that women too “can be truly disgusting,” according to fellow writer Alison Ross.
Mad House Productions have plans to enter the Vancouver Fringe Festival next September with this show, and I certainly hope they do. The performance was a hysterically funny mix of stand-up and soliloquy. Effective writing, excellent acting, and a great concept made for a production that was truly a fan-fiction of epic proportions.