D 'n' D: Live on Stage! (Dorks 'n' Dice) | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

D 'n' D: Live on Stage! (Dorks 'n' Dice) 

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D 'n' D: Live on Stage! (dorks 'n' dice), Hi-Volt Theatre Company, at the Space. Dungeons & Dragons is "more than just a game, it's a way of life," as enthusiastic Dungeon master Jimmy (Harry Bauer) tells the audience. Those who have ever played D & D, or lost friends and family to its fantasy world, will relate. The Hi-Volt cast has put typical D & D diehards on display: the bully with a ninja preoccupation (Eric Roach), the Trekkie who demands a phaser even in medieval times (Bill Underwood), the well-adjusted guy who still enjoys a game with his geeky buddies (Alex Monical), and the gullible wimp who wishes D & D were real (Peter Ellis). Jimmy's goth girlfriend (Elizabeth Kline) is injected into the mix to counter some of the testosterone.

As a painful reminder of days of geekdom past (or not), D 'n' D works well, but it's unsatisfying as theater. Each of the show's ten episodes is self-contained, and by the end of this hour-long show the overall arc of the story remains undeveloped. The audience detects hints of what's to come or echoes of what's already happened, but there's little immediate dramatic tension. And it's easy to laugh at these familiar types but hard to get truly involved. Freezing the main action for whimsical sketches explaining the game doesn't help. With an unimpressive cast playing superficially developed characters, this show would need a magic potion to reach the next level.

--Jenn Goddu


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