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Photo by Simon Ha

Fringe Review: Quest Friends Forever

By Jared Davidson on June 13, 2017

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Quest Friends Forever
by Quest Friends Forever

60 min / Comedy, Improv / PG

For those who are familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, a tabletop role-playing game first published in 1974, Quest Friends Forever may awaken nostalgia like the Fellowship awoke what slept beneath the Mines of Moria. For those of a less die-inclined disposition, the show may be a little difficult to follow.

This is a show with a fairly specific audience, and this is a strength. Those attracted to this show will be insiders, ready to root for the performers as they improvise their way through fantastical fantasy worlds. These are people who understand what 20-sided dice are, and will know what to do with them when they are handed oversized versions during the performance.

This nicheness is probably intentional. Improv comedy requires a willing audience. It also requires a very skilled cast of performers, and the team behind Quest Friends Forever (the same folks behind the very cool new Improv Embassy venue and Ottawa Improv Festival) are no young bucks to the world of improv. In fact, the show was given a pilot run at Live! on Elgin earlier in the year, so they’ve had plenty of time to inhabit the characters. Then again, we don’t go to improv shows to see flawless performances, do we?

No, we go to improv for the messiness. We want to see struggle and failure along the way to the laugh. Clearly, this troupe understands that, and everything about the way the show is conducted is designed to make fun of the medium itself: the sarcastic over-narration, the audience questions, the tongue-violently-thrust-into-the-cheek style, all is in service of that moment where we see the rough edges of the show. The funniest joke in improv isn’t a joke at all. It’s that moment when a performer contradicts something basic about his or her character and is forced to make up a justification in order not to break.

So this show is also for improv lovers. It may be conjecture, but I’d wager that a Venn diagram of improv and D&D fans would be pretty much just a circle. After all, what is role playing if not improv?


Quest Friends Forever is playing at Academic Hall (135 Séraphin-Marion) until Saturday June 17, 2017. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.