Anyway, I had a great time, not least-wise because of the charming company - but also because the event itself was surprisingly professional; it had a very "Rock Horror Picture Show" kind of atmoshpere about it. I'm determined to go back, it really was an off-beat but very fun event. I wrote a review on yelp.com - which is a great site for finding things to do and places to eat, if you haven't tried it already.
"The Dungeon Master is a sort of interactive theater experience, that is high-camp and pure fun. The show consists of scripted elements performed by talented actors with a suitably impressive budget for costumes, sets, and props. The improve/interactive element comes from a group of audience-members who are chosen to "go on the adventure" and interact with a series of set-piece encounters that tell the story for the night.
Audience members are expected to be some sort of character, but the emphasis is on comedy and fun, rather than serious drama. Costuming by audience-members is encouraged (and also gives you two bucks off the ticket price of $10) and costumed people are more often chosen to be on stage than others. When the audience members go on the adventure, they interact with the actors to accomplish some goal - but mostly, they're goofing to get laughs! They can also cast "spells" which can do more or less anything, but they have to be in rhyming couplets, and are limited to ten in total. There's a cast-member in the control booth who is the disembodied voice that tells the story's narrative, and explains whether a particular spell works or not.
The night I went, four people were chosen to interact with some mer-people on an adventure undersea. After being hired by a couple of cast-members (thus giving them a chance to introduce themselves) they had to defeat some pirates and go on a boat to find the undersea city, and talk a hydrophobic mer-man into helping them. "Magical breathing masks" acquired, they proceeded under the water to fight a giant squid, sneak past some very fetching mermaids, get into the mer-city, and finally confront the mer-people. Along the way, scenes were interspersed with scripted scenes between actors, as well as other audience participation.
The whole thing was silly good fun! Afterwards, the audience voted on their favorite character, who will be invited back for an "all star" adventure later on. Previous "all-star" winners are granted recurring roles in the repertory, and there's a strong "Rocky Horror" element of fans that come again and again, and have evolved funny rituals that are part of the entertainment.
There was also an opening act, but they were... well, not relevant to this review!"
Since this isn't yelp, i'll add that the opening act was pretty awful - other than a good cover of "Anna Ng" by They Might Be Giants, they played soporofic, dreamy folksy music that was probably supposed to sound a little like Joshua Radin. Instead, the songs they did were basically indistinguishable from each other, and the lead singer couldn't refrain from talking on and on and on in between tunes. Points to them for having a flugelhorn and clarinet - but they were severely under-utilized. Nothing says "emo yet remote" quite like a flugelhorn, but the singer wanted to be sure that his guitar dominated every song, so other musicians weren't given much of a chance at the spotlight. Blissfully, it was a short set.
I had a great time. Went home feeling... well yeah.