Scott Dell is an intern for SiriusXM Canada Laughs.
Huddled together in the Bad Dog Theatre, it’s rare so many thick rimmed glasses and cardigan sweaters are packed into one place. But this is not some science demonstration. This is D&D live presented by Sex T-Rex.
A true replication of the Dungeons and Dragons experience, framed through a hilarious and effortlessly engaging improv show. Presented by the proud nerdlingers of Sex T-Rex, striking true with blows of hilarity.
Sex T-Rex have found themselves winners of 2015 Just for Laughs Award for Best Comedy, 2016 Atlantic Fringe Festival Best Comedy and Fringe Hit and are currently on a Canada wide tour.
In a standard improv show, the audience decides what will happen. But this is D&D Live and all matters of importance are decided by a dice roll. The giant twenty sided dice lays raised on the stage, the same used to roll actions in the over 40 year old role playing game.
It’s improv, it’s D&D, it’s classic nerdom with modern twist and it all happens in their step sister’s basement.
But what delights about D&D Live is it does not take place in the classic Forgotten Realms, the legendary Dragonlance or face the horrific of Ravenloft. The story of D&D Live rolls through the ancient and mystical realm, as announced by the party, of Trannah. A play on the lazy pronunciation of Ontario’s capital, Toronto.
They’ve said one word and already struck the point of D&D Live to its concept level. It’s a beautiful mix of nerd lore and modern comedy, all being run by the dungeon master. A 28 year D&D veteran, Seann Murray.
Filled with in jokes about Canadian city life, that easily translate to any Canadian population cluster, D&D Live takes fantasy roleplaying and the gigglish comedy that comes with a pack of nerds hopped up on Jolt Cola, and places it right here in the north. So authentic, it even replicates having that party member that refuses to get along with everyone else, played by the devilishly remarkable necromancer.
A quick glance at the map, some audience requests and the party is off to the Skydome in a spell jammer to save Trannah, doge spells and find love. All with the help of a brilliant cast of villains, anchored by Kaitlin Morrow as a tyrannous kitty.
On the party’s treacherous journey, they may battle evil denizens of Trannah like Lichipsters, Street Meat Sirens, Selfie Beholders and tonight’s villain, the Romanticore. All culled from the custom Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual created by the troupe.
But the humour is inviting to all, even working classic comedy techniques like a Benny Hill chase sequence and John the Bard being forced into repeatedly acting as the ship’s sail, despite the real agony it caused. A clever joke that even welcomes the audience to join the party in laughing at its own absurdity.
Here lies the true brilliance of D&D Live. Mixing an authentic role playing experience with accessibility for everyone, bringing jokes through classic shtick and vaudeville tactics. Whether the party’s dog being “definitely good,” or the crowd gasping as an epic fail is almost rolled on the giant d20. This is an experience comedy lovers, nerds and even our mothers can enjoy.
But perhaps what is most realistic about D&D Live is that it continues the story with each performance. Just like Dungeons and Dragons, the game doesn’t end, it just gets a little better each time.