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+1 Sword | Shaolin Punk

+1 Sword

Dragons. Dungeons.

Not necessarily in that order.

Photo by James Penlidis

Ben McKenzie and Richard McKenzie covet their show's namesake, the enchanted +1 sword. Photo by James Penlidis.

In 1974, a pair of idiots invented Dungeons & Dragons, the first role-playing game. 35 years later, a different pair of idiots polished the twenty-sided dice, sharpened the +1 swords and opened a bag of holding full of tales of adventure, danger and laughs. Those idiots are Richard McKenzie and Ben McKenzie, who after a year working together in the Anarchist Guild Social Committee (‘sketch maestros’ – Adelaide Advertiser) decided to really get their geek on.

Dungeons & Dragons has captured the imaginations of nerds around the globe for nearly 40 years. Now, you too can find out why millions of people enjoy sitting around a table imagining they’re elves, wizards or fighters, battling the forces of evil with sword and sorcery. Is it the adventure? The old-fashioned storytelling? The thrill of chance as you roll the dice? Or maybe it’s just another excuse to muck about with friends over beer and pizza…

Whether you’re a die-hard gamer who owns several twenty-sided dice in case the luck runs out of one, or a layman who doesn’t know alignment from armour class, +1 Sword takes you on a whirlwind tour of the critical hits and failures of “probably the world’s most popular game”. A literally underground hit during the 2009 Melbourne Fringe Festival and 2010 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

+1 Sword – the only comedy show that grants you a bonus to attack and damage rolls.

Reviews of +1 Sword:

‘a brilliantly inspired comedy team … a comic master-class in D&D … I had a ball’ – Lisa ClarkAustralian Comedy Review (Melbourne Comedy Festival season 2010)

‘The two McKenzies work well as a double team, fast on their feet, bouncing off each other and the crowd … It’s a show for thinking people’ – Liam PieperRHUM (Melbourne Comedy Festival season 2010)

‘the lads, seasoned gamers as they are, draw dungeon masters and n00bs together. The result is energetic, clever and warm, and at all times remains a genuine homage … 7/10’ – Daniel ZugnaThe Enthusiast

‘*** plenty of laughs…very silly, and definitely enjoyable regardless of whether or not you’ve ever rolled a d20’ – Richard Watts, arts critic, on his blog Man About Town

‘an hilariously geeky journey…highly entertaining…I laughed so much my jaw hurt’ – Andrew Erlanger (and vox pop punters)Buzzcuts (audio review)

Who are these idiots?

Richard McKenzie has been a comedian since 2002, and a hardcore nerd since waaaay before that. He has performed stand-up, sketch comedy and impro across Australia, both solo and with his brother, fellow comedian Adam. He’s hosted a bunch of comedy rooms, and is currently the man in charge of both Grumpy Trivia and Comedy at the Green at Grumpy’s Green in Fitzroy. His awards include Best Comedy in the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2004 (Super Happy Robot Hour) and a Moosehead Award in 2006 (Digger). His previous nerd shows include Zombies 101, or, Why Grandma Had to Die and Mint Condition, and this year you can also catch him in Robot vs. World.

Ben McKenzie is founder of Shaolin Punk; read more about him under Personnel.

Scott Gooding provided an “outside eye”, helping McKenzie and McKenzie tweak the show for their second season. Scott has worked in theatre, film and television for more than 20 years, both as a director and actor. His one-man sketch show, Eric, was a hit at both the 2008 Melbourne Fringe and 2009 Comedy Festival, and returns for the 2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Karin Muiznieks deserves very special thanks for her hard work assisting with the props for the show. She drew all the amazing pictures, went above and beyond the call of duty to secure the services of Toby the wyvern, and yes, she really did make the spectacular cloak that Ben sports during the show. Thanks Karin!

The “idiots” who invented Dungeons & Dragons are the late Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Many other idiots have followed in their footsteps, all of them the envy of gamer geeks the world over. You can find out about the current version of the game at the official web site of publishers Wizards of the Coast.