The Sword of Maximum Damage

The realms of fantasy board games never normally appeal to anyone but those on the peripheral edges of society. Yet watching this surreal feast of a show provides a real treat, even if it helps to confirm that only outcasts get involved in such activities.

The comedy involves two players battling it out to be ‘Caverns and Kings’ champion of 2008, and both players – reigning champ Torben Stromdahi and his nemesis Blake Matthewson are backed up by servants Jens and Ofval in their quest to defeat the minotaur. The enthusiasm that they put into every dice roll is far greater than that of any poker tournament, and the desperation that each side puts into gaining the Sword of Maximum Damage, the most powerful weapon in the game, is powerfully portrayed.

Through all the grim determination of each team to beat the other – Blake in particular becomes a revered and hated character when he happily puts his sister Ofval into the firing line in his place – the show is interspersed by some light-hearted and jovial moments. If you’re lucky enough to sit near the front you are offered orange slices, for example, while the ukulele, which seems to be the theme of the festival so far, is in full view.

The acting cannot be faulted, as the six rising stars produce a convincing performance in their respective roles. The oppressed Ofval, the only female on stage and one desperately trying to be accepted by the other players, gives a particularly sensitive performance while the ‘chaostician’, who is the equivalent of the dungeon master in ‘Dungeons and Dragons’, keenly makes up the rule book as he goes along; anyone who has heard Mornington Cresent on Radio 4 would empathise with this.

Apparently it’s based on a true story as well, which adds that extra spice and intrigue into the whole shenanigans. This show is quite bizarre, but an original script and energetic performances makes it a Fringe hit.

Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

Underbelly. 1st - 24th August (not 13th). 20:40 (1h).

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