Pop playwright Qui Nguyen’s 2011 paean to RPGs should warm the hearts of nerds across Chicago in Buzz22’s almost endlessly inventive production. The story centers on a young woman who discovers a Dungeons & Dragons module written by her now-deceased younger sister, and enlists the help of a high-school dungeonmaster to try and reconnect with her sibling via role-playing.
Set in 1995, Monsters wrings much of its humor from deliciously dorky references to the early days of the Internet and mid-’90s TV. As consummate in-crowder Agnes (Katherine Banks) discovers the inner (and ended) life of high-school outsider Tilly (Jessica London-Shields) via rolls of the dice, Scott Weinstein’s production mines genuine emotion amid the swords-and-sorcery goofiness. Although Nguyen drops the ball on a couple of tangential subplots, extraordinarily accomplished design elements make this a geeky must-see.