In 2007, a documentary came out chronicling the seemingly life or death struggle to obtain the highest score on Donkey Kong, and now, 11 years later, a local musical has been produced here in Indiana that does sincere justice to the incredible true story and to at least one of the subjects involved. Full disclosure, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is my favorite documentary. Beyond its surface level silliness and people who make it hard for viewers NOT to mock them is a classic study in what drives us, who we tend to gravitate toward and the fickle nature of success and failure. Playwright Casey Ross’s story understands it and plays right to it, with an absurd opening where Billy Mitchell, played confidently by local actor Luke McConnell gives a blunt, Darwinian speech into a large, cumbersome video camera held by a clearly uncomfortable cameraman. It showcases a few things: Billy’s high opinion of himself, his lack of knowledge toward technical advancements (with some of the play’s biggest laughs being his reactions to what people are saying about him online) and the shaky foundation of his reputation, bolstered by his hot sauce empire and a few reliable underlings. The one-hour musical concerns the accusations that Billy cheated to get the high scores on all of the games he holds records on, such as Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Burger Time. Into this chaotic maelstrom comes Billy’s old rival Steve Wiebe, played with relish by local actor Anthony Logan Nathan. Obsessive, strung out on Red Bull and a constant source of derision for his wife, played by local actor Kayla Lee, who brings the play a welcome, singular sense of levity. The crazed Wiebe, in an effort to dethrone Mitchell, manipulates the malleable and soft Brian Kuh, played by local actor Jim Banta, who imbues Brian with enough tenderness (as well as a not so subtle crush on Mitchell) to make him the musical’s sympathetic heart. Local actor Ryan Powell rounds out the cast as Walter Day, whose role and persona were not as fleshed out and pinpointed as I would like, his status as a sort of monk-like sage uninterested are glossed over rapidly in a few quick, albeit witty lines of dialogue, but Powell’s performance provides another wrinkle to the real world nestled just outside of this cloistered setting. The songs are sickeningly catchy; with the opening song “King of Kong” and “It’s a Kong Off” are guaranteed spots in your mind whether you want them there or not. The stage setup is minimal, with two blocks in the center of the stage and two arcade games on either side and it is seems very appropriate, especially when he sings “Second Place, First Loser”, why Steve’s arcade machine is Donkey Kong Jr. and Mitchell’s is the original Donkey Kong machine. And I can’t end this review without talking about my one major issue, which is the characterization of Steve. It will be hard for anyone familiar with the documentary to separate the movie with the Ross’s vision, which places much more emphasis on Billy’s struggle and tries to make him into a heroic figure, evidenced by a crucial act of altruism at the end. But what I found so interesting about the movie was how Steve and Billy were almost total opposites, with Billy this type-A go-getter whose ego-driven approach to life, hot sauce and video games garners him fame and fortune but to an outsider sometimes verges on the monstrous and Steve being this man who could have exceled toward greatness if it weren’t for his lack of confidence and a crippling sense of humility, which was brilliantly characterized by his account of choking at the baseball championship, set to the tune of The Cure's "Pictures of You". I know I should view the play for what it is, but Nathan’s maniacal Steve was distracting at best and inaccurate at worst. But for what the play is, a fun and timely romp tinged with nostalgia and heart, it is a success and should provide some comedic relief for some of the more self-serious shows at the Fringe. The audience I saw it with ate up, and there is a good chance you will too.