Barry Brennan’s Bi-Monthly Dungeons and Dragons Sessions – A Geek Tragedy

No in-depth knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons lore is required to appreciate the excellent comedy this show provides. Those in the know however will receive a +2 bonus to enjoyment rolls. ‘BB – DnD’ tells the story of a group of table-top role-players threatened by the imminent departure of one of their four. At the prospect of an end to their game which has broken all length records in Western Europe, the remaining three attempt to coerce the fourth into staying.

The audience seems to be weighted more towards those who have occasionally encountered the words ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ in their lives rather than those who have actually played it. Placing myself in the latter camp I lapped up the chemistry and back-and-forth sniping between the Scottish quartet, as well as particularly brilliant performances from an English girlfriend (the source of all evil) and Barry’s batty mother. Everything is over-the-top and deliciously so. The show never takes itself too seriously, not even in the somewhat abrupt and unexpected end to proceedings which comes across as a bit lazy and could be expanded upon.

Performing in the round presents many challenges to actors and the cast seem to initially cope with it well, interacting directly with audience members from time-to-time when on their feet. However there are times when certain members of the audience must be seeing a lot of the backs of the cast, particularly towards the end when two halves of the cast square off against each other. This is inevitable at some points with a show in the round, but the same care applied at the beginning of the show could also be applied more at the end to great effect.

As marvellous as the title is, DnD is never actually played during the show; have no fear (or perhaps hope) of hearing a tale of four adventurers venturing into caverns unknown. But it doesn’t need to be played. The tale of four role-players venturing into Barry’s mum’s basement for tea and biscuits is entertaining enough. There are a few misfires with the jokes, by and large those that try a bit too hard to pander to any geeks in the crowd. However, the majority of the show is fantastic, even if you haven’t got the faintest idea what a saving throw is.

Reviews by James Beagon

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Performances

The Blurb

Raucous, nerdish comedy with goblins and stuff. Previous Fringe smashes include: ‘Allo ‘Allo, ‘Fringe phenomenon’ ****(Scotsman), Jean Brodie, ***** (ThreeWeeks), Sex, Lies and Eurovision, ***** (ThreeWeeks). www.practical-magic.org

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