This review first appeared in The Skinny
Backwards Anorak: Winter is Coming @ Gilded Balloon
Every Game of Thrones fan worth their salt will have duh-duh-DUH-duh’d along to its opening credits, so Aussie comedy troupe Backwards Anorak have picked a canny way to start their show. Winter is Coming begins with the fivesome, led by Michelle Brasier and Vince Milesi, harmonising comically – and rather beautifully – to recreate the iconic tune. With the bearded Milesi dressed, ridiculously, as Daenerys Targaryen (complete with synthetic wig and sexy little bikini top), things just keep getting sillier as the ensemble knowingly confuses Game of Thrones with The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings in a frenetic musical tour of Westeros.
Non-fans of the fantasy genre will find a multitude of the show’s funniest gags skimming over their heads. Winter is Coming’s best jokes and catchiest songs hinge on insider knowledge of Game of Thrones, as well as hobbits, house-elves and the like. There are a handful of references to other aspects of pop culture – a pillar-licking Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, the Eurovision Song Contest – but the rest is pure geekery.
With tremendous support from James Baker, Laura Frew and Leo Milesi, Brasier and Milesi have created a well-written, expertly timed and often hilarious comedy-musical. Brasier and Frew are vocally dominant, full of energy and zesty non-sequiturs, and Milesi has the sort of crazed look in his eyes possessed by some of the best comics. The show descends into chaos towards the end, all bellowing, blood and bare flesh, but this is fitting given its gory inspiration. George R. R. Martin would be proud.