Review by Willie Caldwell of Love and Warcraft: Carnegie Theatre
At its heart, Love and Warcraft is a story about connections. More so, it’s a story about managing connections in a digital age. Written by Madhuri Shekar, Love and Warcraft is a modern-day romantic comedy that chronicles the lives of a group of college students as they navigate sex, lust, love, and video games.
For those who aren’t familiar with World of Warcraft, the popular online multiplayer game is produced by Activision Blizzard and has a total of 5.5 million active subscribers. Players enter a digital fantasy world where they create mythical avatars and go on quests to save the universe. The standard tropes of the fantasy genre all come into play as characters can play as orcs, elves, wizards, and barbarians. Think Dungeons & Dragons for the digital age.
Evie, played by Katie Mitchell, struggles to create meaningful relationships in the real world. Instead, she escapes to the fantasy world of Azeroth where she conducts guild raids with her digital, long-distance, boyfriend Ryan, played by Tony Kessen. Evie moonlights as a freelance relationship writer before falling for one of her new clients Raul, played by Rhys Boatwright. This new twist of unrequited love sees Evie struggling to make sense of her feelings as well as her topsy-turvy libido all while balancing her real life with her digital one. The cast of characters is rounded out by the sexually driven Kitty, played by Liz Carman, who brings an over-the-top style and a bawdy sense of empowerment. All is fair in love and war, or in this case, all is fair in love and Warcraft.
There are several instances where the actors lean into stereotypes for comedic effect but end up falling a little flat. Despite this, there are fun moments throughout the piece that keep the audience chuckling and along for the ride. This is especially clear in the second act when the audience is transported into the game and we see the actors as their avatars battling a Cthulhu’esque monster. Giant cardboard weapons and cheesy magic sound effects make for a fun romp through the fantasy world of Azaroth as the play adventures towards its climax.
The whole production has a bit of a camp element to it while still allowing the actors to explore subtle ways in which their characters connect with each other. The production is laced with innuendo as well as adult themes and adult language and is intended for mature audiences. The Carnegie is featuring a specialty cocktail called the “Night Elf” which might be the perfect potion to get you into the adventuring spirit. With a run time of a little over two hours including intermission, we recommend more than one.
Love and Warcraft runs November 3-18 at The Carnege, 1028 Scott Boulevard, Covington, KY 41011. Tickets are available online at www.thecarnegie.com or by calling the box office at 859-957-1940.