There’s a significant number of geeky game based shows this Fringe, but The MMORPG Show is a strong contender for the nerdiest of them all. The acronym stands for massively multiplayer online role-playing game and as a genre with such popularity, is bound to translate to audience numbers when presented as a live show. Being a gamer is certainly not a prerequisite to the enjoyment of this show though; there are a few references that might not make sense, but generally everything is explained by the charismatic host, Paul Flannery.
As with anything that’s heavily improvised and reliant on audience participation, the “plot”, dialogue and ultimately success of the show, will have some nightly variance. But it’s clear Flannery has an arsenal of witty retorts and devices to move things along, ensuring the laughter keeps coming (and that laughter is loud and consistent throughout). He’s quick off the mark with his one liners, showing he understands his audience with responsive comedy and well placed gags . Appropriately rousing music, costume and an assortment of fun and creative home-made props give a real atmosphere and adding to the glorious plethora of geekiness.
The story on this night spends a lot of time on the beginning scenes, which while not taking away from the comic element, does take away from the story and result in a rushed ending, making the adventure less climatic and satisfying than it warrants. We’re also given a round up of “what we’ve learned” from the show at the end, which dips the energy and feels like an unnecessary add on. But this is harsh criticism and only because this show has room to be taken to another level of quality (especially as it lies in the hands of an imaginative and talented creator/host).
It’s early days in the production’s life and this could very easily become a top rated show and a highlight of the Fringe (though for many this will already be the case). A clever, well delivered concept, the format lends itself to be watched – or indeed participated in – over and again. Sure to quickly amass a loyal cult following and deserving of an injection of cash and upgraded venue for next year, The MMORPG Show is a show worth returning to.