I went to the Critical Role live show last Saturday. As a person who would never go to a concert because I can listen to the music more comfortably at home, this was a slightly out of character decision. For those not in the know, Critical Role is a dungeons and dragons game played by hugely talented voice actors that’s taken the internet by storm. I’ve been watching regularly since 2017 when I got hooked by the prospect of a show that would never disappoint me. Quite the heady concept after quitting more than a few actual television shows that I realized were not contributing joy to my life.
Due to the fact the show won’t be available to watch until February, I can’t disclose any explicit details. Generally I’m a big believer in spoilers but the prospect of the cast being disappointed with me after being in the same room with them is more than enough to stay my hand. So general impressions it is!
First of all, few things will make you feel exhausted like getting up at five to herd cats disguised as second graders then getting on a bus to travel to Los Angeles for a couple hours, quick hit up a friend’s birthday party while trying not to fall asleep on her couch, and then the next night finding yourself in a theatre waiting for your 9 o’clock show – a show you know from experience lasts a minimum of four hours. I was actually legitimately worried I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the experience or connect with the energy in the room. My friend and I were in the VIP group so we had a private panel with the cast at 7 before the madness started. The reality of it all hit me the second they were introduced to the stage and I realized these people were in the same physical space as I was. After having lived with them in my laptop for years, it was surreal.
The show itself was hilarious as the cast was pretty clearly playing off the audience. They’re funny at home but there tend to be more zingers when it’s a live show. Again, when the break came at 10:30 I was incredibly worried about if I would be enjoying this experience as much as I wanted. Overanalyzing whether or not you’re legitimately having a good time isn’t a great way to have a good time but luckily it was a short break. We jumped back in and soon I barely noticed the time. At some point my friend whispered that it was one in the morning and I really didn’t feel it. We were bearing down hard on two when something I can’t go into detail about until February happened and I jumped to my feet cheering.
I’ve never been much for sporting events. Even the ones I have any stake in, such as horse shows, really don’t interest me. Though most people discourage roaring applause at a horse show since the dressage horses really aren’t the biggest fans of that kind of ruckus when they’re working. This isn’t Seabiscuit. Anyway, I would always observe people who got so passionate about their sport that they’d watch for hours then get so into it they were cheering and just wonder what on earth they found so engaging about it.
Well, mystery solved. At very nearly two in the morning at the Ace Theatre on my feet in heels while clapping and hollering, I absolutely understood the impulse. You are invested. You are part of the experience. Whether you were cast or audience, we were all in it together.
The adrenaline was even enough to get me to bed without falling down!
I’d always wanted to go to a live show of Critical Role but knew logistically it simply couldn’t happen if they didn’t hold one in LA. Then they did. Sometimes the universe points at you and says, “Hey, you asked.” For once I’m glad I asked.