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DORKS AND ORKS [Edinburgh Fringe]

Written By:

Ed Fortune
Dorks and Orks

by Ed Fortune

Live performance table-top gaming is a relatively new format for stage shows; of the countless improv shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, only five or six can be described as D&D adjacent. As such, the actual format is still being explored by performers. For every ‘comedians at a table’-style show, such as Tartan Table-top or Character Building Experiencewe have something more experimental, such as Mistakes Were Made or The Twenty-Sided Tavern.

Dorks and Orks is the first attempt we’ve seen at actually trying to turn fantasy TTRPGs into a game-show-style affair. The result is an interesting mix between Oxventure and the classic kids’ TV show, Knightmare. The show uses a custom-made Virtual Table Top to show rather than tell the audience what’s going on in the fantasy adventure. There are also puzzles built into the adventure, some of which are hilariously obvious to the audience and less so to the comedians.

Our host is Gary Colman, who is a rakish, sardonic host. He’s assisted by a small band of skilled improv comedians, and as always, the characters are pretty silly. Colman is the seemingly reluctant Dungeon Master, hosting the show in an almost panel show style. Gary Colman’s approach is more Game Show Host than Dungeon Master, though he’s not bad at the latter, happily spinning tall tales and trying to keep his players in line. On the game’s mechanic side of things, the show mostly uses an oversized twenty-sized die as a sort of comedy firework, rolled only to serve as punctuation for a gag and not really changing the narrative. This is very much ‘on rails’, thanks to the use of graphics on the show. 

This deflates some of the anarchic spark common in these shows. Dorks and Orks do a good job of blending technology with table-top gaming, though that does take away some of the creative magic that we see in shows such as Questing Time. It is still very funny and worth seeking out if you can.

stars
Find out more about DORKS AND ORKS here.

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