This week we attended Dungeon Crawl, a Dungeons and Dragons-themed improvised comedy performance held at Bella Union on the first Wednesday of every month.
Elizabeth: If it’s 9pm and you haven’t seen a troll being shamed into submission by a Cleric channelling the divinity of Nigella Lawson, then you’re spending your Wednesday night wrong.
Adam: If, however, you are sitting at home fantasising about such things then you are at least taking a step in the right direction.
Elizabeth: Hosted by Ben McKenzie and Richard McKenzie, Dungeon Crawl is unpredictable, hilarious and ever-so-slightly nerdtacular.
Adam: Ever-so-slightly!? I don’t think I have ever been surrounded by that much nerdflesh in all of my life. You wouldn’t find more beards in a beard shop. I was even skipping my Wednesday night D&D game in order to attend.
Elizabeth: Each event gathers a different group of four performers on the stage. This week had Amanda Buckley as a Cleric armed with the power of making white sauce (as in bechamel, you perverts), Xavier Michaelides as a Barbarian with rage issues (and an apparent testicle fixation), Sean Fabri as a rogue thief with all his points put into passive aggression, and Michelle Nussey as a Sorceress with three once-off powers – including the ability to summon a Bobcat tractor.
Adam: Each of the character’s abilities were established via audience comments. I would say that at least 100% of the audience were hardcore D&D nerds who had spent many hours at home planning out exactly what they were going to say. Ben McKenzie did a great job converting the audience suggestions into realistic sounding rules. The gamers in our readership will appreciate the humour of a bobcat summoning spell being known as “Summon farmer’s ally I”.
Elizabeth: Armed with their character profiles and some slightly dubious abilities, they were left to the mercy of the Dungeon Master (Ben McKenzie) and a host of villagers, monsters, goblins and frogs, all played by Richard McKenzie as they set off from the town of David Boon into the Fucking Hills.
Adam: Richard was great, I actually thought he was the funniest thing in the show. He had a lot to work with by portraying various different monsters and riffing off of the character’s comments. I especially liked the moment when he entered the stage as a troll, singlet-clad and wielding an inflatable club only to be met with a cry of “it’s hideous!” from the audience. He used it well and even had a little chuckle along with the rest of us.
Elizabeth: You don’t need to be a long-time Dungeons and Dragons player to enjoy Dungeon Crawl. As someone who has so far only completed half a quest and had to hold back on shouting “Alohomora” when the audience was asked for its favourite spell, I still pretty much didn’t stop laughing for the entire hour.
Adam: I wanted to suggest “laundry” as the clerical ability. I refrained but regretted it when the group was forced to battle a blanket monster (cloaker to the nerds out there).
Elizabeth: In addition to overly aggressive blankies, the players externally battled trolls and goblins whilst internally battling passive aggression, meta-gaming and the urge to make jokes about squirting white sauce into the dark, narrow passageway they were navigating. We also learned that cows not being able to walk backwards is actually an urban myth, and that caves don’t actually have doors.
Adam: It was the first time in my life I had ever seen a punch to the nuts be an example of meta-gaming. I hope this does not become a feature in my regular gaming group because I am small and delicate.
Elizabeth: It’s hard to compare Dungeon Crawl to anything else. It mixes Dungeons and Dragons with pop culture references, and you’re likely to hear a Transformers joke right after a spectacular monologue about the woes of being the leader of a village of five year-olds who can’t brew a good beer.
Adam: I spent a lot of the show in a state of panic after an audience member was brought on stage and made to wear a goblin mask and hop around. I typically sit up the back in comedy shows to avoid such things but this time around I was right up the front. I discovered afterwards that said audience member was a friend of the cast but the fear still haunts me at nights.
Elizabeth: The show is crazy, funny and there are giant dice. However, when it comes down to it, there aren’t many events where you’ll witness the effects of a magical axe with the power of infection or see four adults convince a man that taking off an amulet will turn him into a horse.
Adam: Spoiler-alert – it did not turn him into a horse.
The next Dungeon Crawl is on July the 4th, come say hi to us.
I read stuff like this all the time, but never with video. This is the kind of thing I want to watch, not just get an opinion on.
As in, you want Dungeon Crawl to be filmed?
Right, I think any group that does this sort of thing should be filming it with as high quality as they can afford to spread the word online. Even if not the whole show (though that would be preferable to me as a viewer) a highlight reel or trailer or some sort would be nice.
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