Athenaeum, 7 The Octagon, Dunedin

03/03/2016 - 06/03/2016

Dunedin Fringe 2016

Production Details

A great evil has risen in the land of Eldermere, and the old Heroes have disappeared leaving the innocent vulnerable to the forces of darkness.

Fortunately two budding Heroes have decided to challenge the darkness and save the world, unfortunately they have no idea what they’re doing. If they have any hope of saving anyone, they will have to deal with Goblins, Gods and their own imagination.

Can they endure the Dungeons and the Dragons and save the day? Especially when their fate lies in the hands of the Dungeon Masters and the fickle 20-sided Dice?

Bring your boots of agility and your best party members along to this thrilling, fresh (and fun, we promise) adventure!

Athenaeum, 7 The Octagon, Dunedin 
Thu 3 Mar, Fri 4 Mar & Sun 6 Mar 2016
R13: Coarse Language
$10.00 – $15.00  
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Theatre , Comedy ,

Fun and quirky

Review by Alison Embleton 05th Mar 2016

Tales of the Tabletop draws the majority of its material from the world of fantasy role-player games. As such, its ideal audience is one made up of people who know and enjoy these games. While a valiant effort has been made to make the story lines accessible to all, and there a many jokes which the general public will enjoy (the majority of which are actually lines lifted verbatim from movies), because of its subject matter the whole show feels a little like an in-joke.  

The audience follow a group of friends (somewhat disappointingly all males) as they teach a new player the rules and customs of the game. Characters are chosen, weapons selected, mistakes made… hilarity ensues.

The production has a rough-and-ready charm, something the director and cast have obviously run with. And while the hammed-up slapstick comedy is definitely amusing, it wears thin over the course of the nearly two hour show.

The actors’ projection is fantastic and they are clearly having the best time on stage together. Their enjoyment of the work and the way they feed off each other is delightful to watch. There are a couple of instances of up-staging, but they don’t detract that much considering the general havoc happening on stage at any given moment.  

The simple set is effective and provides only the necessities, allowing a large space for the actors to move within. Unfortunately they choose not to utilise much more than the very centre, passing up the opportunity to create a more dynamic visual for the audience.  

Having started its life as a Lunch Time Theatre show for Allen Hall, Tales of the Tabletop has been re-worked into a full-length play. It gives the impression of being created by friends for their own enjoyment and, as stated above, that enjoyment is abundantly evident. However, this is possibly why it feels a little tired. The actors are seemingly waiting for laughs on several occasions and there are one or two instances of them breaking character.   

One additional quibble (which I will admit is possibly due to my own sensitivity) is that a gun seems to act as a desirable problem-solver during one of the show’s climaxes. We live in a world that already has so many gun-related problems, does the realm of fantasy also need to be championing firearms as well?

While this show would benefit from a hefty edit and a little diversity when it comes to casting, overall it’s a solid performance. Tales of the Tabletop is fun and quirky and definitely something for the non-traditional theatre-goer. 


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