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She Kills Monsters

a Comedy
by Qui Nguyen

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Out of Box Theatre at Artisan Resource Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 5095

SHOWING : July 07, 2017 - July 22, 2017



A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, "She Kills Monsters" tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

Director William Brooks
Vera Lauren Coleman
Orcus/Ronnie Ryan Lamotte
Lilith/Lilly Sarah Beth Moseley
Tilly Ali Olhausen
Agnes Kristin Storla
Evil Tina/Farrah the Faerie Suzanne Stroup
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She Slays
by playgoer
Monday, July 10, 2017
Qui Nguyen’s "She Kills Monsters" tells the story of Agnes, a young schoolteacher, who finds a Dungeons & Dragons notebook created by her dead teenage sister and attempts to decipher its contents, recruiting the aid of various highschoolers involved in Dungeons & Dragons gameplaying. It seems Agnes’ sister Tilly was quite a phenomenon in the local D&D community, and the fantasies laid out in the notebook reveal secrets about her personal life. Since the storyline follows a D&D quest, there’s lots of action, swordplay, costumes, and masks. It’s quite lively.

Director Will Brooks has gotten confident performances out of all his actors, and costumes (Julianne Whitehead), props (Morgan Brooks), masks/makeup (Ian Gibson and Sarah Hanus), and fight choreography (Kiernan Matts and Kristin Storla) make the D&D elements come to sparkling life. Morgan Brooks’ set cleverly uses a trio of three-sided revolving set pieces to suggest the various settings, with cubes decorated as packing boxes working as furniture pieces and elevated platforms. Will Brooks’ sound design and Stevie Roushdi’s lighting design are complex (the complexity possibly implicated in an electrical failure on opening night) and effectively set the mood for the many scenes.

Many of the actors play two roles: a D&D character and its real-life equivalent. All do well in portraying the two sides of the same personality, with none more impressive than Sarah Beth Moseley, whose militantly evil Lilith is balanced by sweet Lilly. Nick Cothran, Ryan Lamotte, Hayden Bishop, Sarah Williams, and Suzanne Stroup ably play characters with less of a disparity in real/roleplay personalities. Their ages don’t all ring true, with few actors except Ali Olhausen (Tilly) convincingly playing high school age. Kristin Storla, as Agnes, is age-appropriate and gives a lovely performance, integrating humor, drama, and mad fighting skills. Lauren Coleman, playing high school guidance counselor Vera, and Shaun Maclean, playing Agnes’ boyfriend Miles, also get into the D&D play, although their real-life characters get most stage time. All these actors target their performances toward advancing the story, as does faux-Brit narrator Laurel Ann Lowe. Only Kiernan Matts, as the nebbishy Steve, seems to calibrate his performance more toward impressing the audience.

Mr. Nguyen’s play has some depth under its D&D exterior, with Ms. Storla and Ms. Olhausen interacting as sisters separated by death. The Dungeons & Dragons aspects of the story are amply explicated by the script, so the play is not targeted specifically at the audience of D&D enthusiasts, although its references to 1995 might make it resonate most meaningfully to highschoolers of that time period. Will Brooks and Out of Box Theatre have started the 2017 season with a lively, energetic show that entertains in a uniquely D&D fashion. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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