She Kills Monsters
The once popular Dungeons and Dragons role playing game is brought to life with an entertaining stage production of "She Kills Monsters" by Qui Nguyen. The story is about Agnes (Stephanie McCue), a high school teacher who didn't get the chance to know her younger sister Tilly (Amy Smith), an avid player Dungeons and Dragons who died in a car accident.
Agnes discovers a dungeon module written by Tilly (for those not familiar with the game, replace the term 'module' with 'adventure'). As she experiences the adventure, filled with all sorts of monsters associated with the game as well as characters fighting the monsters such as Lillith (Juliet Lindo), Kaliope (Mary Rose Stark) and Orcus (Chip Nash), she is able to connect with Tilly and further understand the world she embraced. Filled with many funny and poignant moments, I was surprised at the thoughtful messages offered, especially not taking for granted those close to you, as tomorrow is guaranteed for no one.
Director Sarah O'Connell did well in casting not only a few local acting veterans, but also fine group of young actors who are typically not seen in local productions in the Vegas valley. I enjoyed the interactions between Amy Smith and Stephanie McCue as they learned more about each other with the adventure being the vehicle for discovery.
Noah Keeling has plenty of funny moments as Chuck, the Dungeon Master who, in typical Dungeons and Dragons fashion, takes his role seriously. Chip Nash is hilarious as Orcus, a slacker who reluctantly fights with the group during the adventure. Mary Rose Stark and Juliet Lindo are strong as Kaliope and Lillith, fighting the monsters along with Tilly.
Matthew Kuri is entertaining as Miles, Agnes' boyfriend who is out of touch with the Dungeons and Dragons realm (as a former player of the game, people either got it or they didn't). April Sauline is funny as Vera, Agnes' friend and guidance counselor at the school. Maxwell Dalvey does well as Steve, another one of Tilly's friends who makes several appearances during the adventure.
Alexa Josey, Skye Graves and Sara Andreas all did well with their multiple roles as monsters, bugbears and succubi. I especially enjoyed Andreas' portrayal of the foul-mouthed faerie, one of many humorous performances in the play.
Another highlight of the production was the costuming by Stephen R. Sisson. The creative costumes brought us into the fantasy world effectively. I also enjoyed the scenic design by Tim Burris. Simple flats on wheels were more than enough to change the scenes and keep the action going. This is a fun evening of theater with the added benefit of positive messages throughout. For me personally, it was a nostalgic visit to my role-playing days. Due to some strong language, I would recommend the show to audiences aged high school and up.
"She Kills Monsters" runs through Oct. 31 at The Onyx Theatre, 953 E. Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada. For tickets and information, contact www.onyxtheatre.com.