Thu 4th – Sat 6th August 2016


Amy Mace

at 09:57 on 7th Aug 2016



Fantasy fans will be in their element when entering the unique world that constitutes ‘The M.M.O.R.P.G Show’. 'Lord of the Rings' jokes and 'The Hobbit' references prevail, and receive guttural laughs from audience members in the know. The self-professed and unapologetic ‘nerd culture’ around which the show rotates is a breath of fresh air, and the excitement and sense of community that specific cultural and fantastical references incite in the audience is great to be a part of.

The show, created by and starring Paul Flannery, has only one regular cast member, as the other three characters are plucked from the audience itself. The show takes the format of a fantasy roleplay game, but even those not chosen to sit on stage will have plenty of opportunity to alter the course of events should they so wish. A drink or two at the venue’s downstairs bar certainly encourages audience members to shout out and contribute to the game’s narrative, creating a friendly and immersive atmosphere that suits the Fringe down to the ground.

The unpredictability of such an organic format is unsettling at first, with the occasional lack of cooperation on the part of volunteers giving an awkward edge to the performance. Similarly, the dependence on audience contributions leads to often bizarre movements in the show's trajectory (seductive moths and mother penguins were mentioned frequently during our sitting – if you see it you may understand), and as a result the humour often became a little ludicrous.

But game-maker Paul Flannery redeems these inevitable improvised moments with a quick wit and a comedic assurance that leaves little to be desired. His confident, funny and charming monologue is consistently reassuring. Flannery seamlessly and considerately influences the game’s turn of events so that, despite the apparent spontaneity of its course, it is clear that he is always in control. The warmth with which viewers (or players) applauded him at the end is a testament to his charm.


Una O'Sullivan

at 10:20 on 7th Aug 2016



‘The M.M.O.R.P.G Show’ is a weird, wonderful diamond in the rough of the Fringe, based on the immersive fantasy role-plays of Dungeons and Dragons and its ilk. The act’s main man, Paul Flannery, stands on stage in the traditional costume of a peasant-mage-type character. After a few minutes of charmingly bad jokes to warm up the audience, Flannery selects three volunteers to come up on stage, and explains the rules. And so the quest begins.

The fate of this imaginative show rests not on the creativity of the volunteers, but simply on their willingness to allow themselves to say ridiculous things. The three volunteers who sit on stage are each asked to devise a character for themselves, and, soon after, we all proceed into a tavern, led by a motley group comprising a lion-headed demon, a fabulous dragon, and a fly.

This particular quest is to prevent the assassination of the ambassador at his party. Through rollings of a twenty-sided dice, and spontaneous invocations of spells, self-sacrifice, and audience participation, we eventually traverse the treacherous byways of adventure and emerge, victorious and (mostly) unscathed, from the tavern which houses the venue.

Paul Flannery leads the entire quest with an imaginative ease, poking fun at the nerdiness of role-play games through arch use of technical jargon. It is more than likely that several members of the audience are part of the world of Dungeons and Dragons, but Flannery’s wit and comic delivery prevent the show from descending into a level of strangeness which would alienate newcomers to this type of game.

There is great crowd reaction and a general buzz of enthusiasm as we follow the quest. When circumstances lead to Sebastian the dragon throwing a bag of moths at a group of single mum penguins dressed as fire, in order to seduce them to get tickets for the ambassador’s party, the crowd waited with bated breath to see if the dice would be rolled above the success-requirement of 18. It was 20. Sebastian (played by an awkward, bespectacled teenage boy) leaps from his seat, high-fives the front row of the audience, and returned to the stage amidst cheering and applause.

As someone who has never tried World of Warcraft or D&D, this improvised magic was infectious fun. There is definitely the requirement of an open mind, and some people allowed themselves to go along with the play-acting more than others, but if you are willing to embrace the weirdness of this humble show, I would thoroughly recommend adding it to your Edinburgh Fringe quest for adventure.


Audience Avg.

0 votes, 0 comments

Click here for more event information

cast involved

other events on

Version 0.3.7a