Theatre review: Barry Brennan’s Bi-Monthly Dungeons and Dragons Sessions

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Barry Brennan’s Bi-Monthly Dungeons and Dragons Sessions – A Greek Tragedy at Spotlites @ the Merchants’ Hall (Venue 278), reviewed by David Pollock

Meet Barry Brennan, dungeon master of the longest continuous Dungeons & Dragons game in Europe since the last incumbent was hospitalised with a mental illness and forced to give up.

Ever since 1993, he and his clan have met every second Monday to continue their quest: Alan, a “benevolent Hitler”, over-excitable and a bit sleazy with the ladies in the front row; Shona, aka Selina, a worryingly sadistic goddess in a breastplate who just doesn’t get off in putting down puppies at the vet’s any more; and Derek, who has left the group to work in lingerie in California. This doesn’t go down well when the polo-necked prodigal returns for one last visit with his glamorous, ditzy girlfriend Sammy.

It’s a play of two halves, and the second feels largely absent. That is to say, the first half hour is really very good, a well-worked condensation of the perfectly realised setting, a bunch of well-drawn characters and some genuinely funny comedy that’s at once disparaging and affectionate towards the subjects and their interests.

Barry’s mum is a particular winner, an amusingly
molly-coddling old lady whose disability benefit pays for his broadband. Yet the ending feels condensed and truncated, as though so much has gone into perfecting the set-up that the final act ran out of time for polish and expansion. Scottish company Practical Magic have created a very good comedy piece, and the sense is that a little further development would turn it into a great one.

Until 10 August. Today 7:35pm

More info: Barry Brennan’s Bi-Monthly Dungeons and Dragons Sessions at Spotlites @ the Merchants’ Hall

Originally published in The Scotsman

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