On a cold winter’s night, I journeyed to the far off distant land of Carlton to see Dungeon Crawl, an on stage improvised D&D style adventure, which sees skilled dungeon master Ben McKenzie guide a team of guests through an improvised comedic tale. While the storyline has been structured, everything else is up to the performers, and a certain degree, the audience.

Last night’s adventure celebrated the imminent release of the final Harry Potter movie, and was given the title Dungeon Crawl and the Deathly Philosopher Prince‚Äôs Goblet of Azkaban. Guests for the show were Karen Pickering, Lawrence Leung, Brenna Courtney Glazebrook and Louise Joy McCrae. Additional characters were provided by Richard McKenzie and his minion, Jessica Hutchinson.

Bizarre, random, but frequently hilarious, Dungeon Crawl relies heavily on its geek origins, so in some ways there’s a level of assumed knowledge from the audience. After introducing their characters, the four guests embark on their adventure to destroy an eighth previously unknown horcrux, hidden in Hagrid’s beard by Voldemort’s previously unknown brother Gary Sweet. You follow me?

Unless you know your Potter well, that may have gone over your head, but in the safe hands of skilled improv performers the laughs were many. I had no idea you could wedge so many boob jokes into a Harry Potter setting, and I’m not certain that either ‘halitosis’ or ‘myxomatosis’ are spells endorsed by J.K. Rowling, but they definitely had results with an enthusiastic audience last night.

Kudos in particular goes to Ben McKenzie. Theatrical and charming, he’s the heart and soul of a great performance. Richard McKenzie stole the show every time he stepped on stage, and his minion Jessica Hutchinson was energetic and delightful. Embrace your inner geek, and drag yourself to Dungeon Crawl for a great night of comedy.

Dungeon Crawl is on the first Wednesday of every month (3rd Aug, 7th Sep, 5th Oct, 2nd Nov, 7th Dec), 8:30 at the Trades Hall in Carlton, with bonus literary crawl on the 21st July, as a fundraiser for the Geek Mook journal. There’s also a Crawl planned for Sydney on 4th August at Bondi Pavilion as part of the Hot Damn Festival. See Ben McKenzie’s website Shaolin Punk for more details. Thanks to Robert Young for the photo.

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