Monday, August 18, 2008

"The Sword of Maximum Damage" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Okay, you want to have a show at the Fringe based on the world of competitive role playing games? Roll a D10 dice to choose a type of show. A six - Theatre it is. Never mind, at least it wasn't Dance. Roll again to fix a venue. Five - Underbelly: lots of passing trade but also lots of competition, but you've got a space near the exit so no need to worry about the whole 'fire hazard' thing. Cast next - a D20 for this one. Fifteen! Strong, your cast is. And lastly the script. A ten - a brave attempt that doesn't quite live up to its potential. Right, that's enough of that...

It's an entertaining piece but it somehow never quite reaches the level of comedy that the situation and characters should provide. I suspect there may have been a dilemma regarding how much to make the humour at the expense of the characters without it alienating their potential audience. And yes, the audience did appear to be very much letting their inner geeks out for the night - I can't imagine many other shows where a major discussion takes place in the queue about the potential drawbacks should we ever perfect cold fusion.

Anyway, back to the show. The cast's enthusiasm is obvious and the characters are well defined and all have a bit of substance to them. Normally that's a bonus but to some extent it's a problem here as the character building comes at the expense of the laughs. Despite the frequent smiles it generates there just aren't enough laugh out loud moments to lift it above the ordinary.

But there is more than enough here to make it worth seeing if you have a gap to fill, and don't be put off if your knowledge of role playing games is non-existent - you'll get the general idea without too much difficulty. And for those who have dabbled with such things (even I was eight years old once) it will bring the memories flooding back.

Sword of Maximum Damage runs at Underbelly at 8.40pm until 24th August
Image used with permission