Do you remember the kids TV show from about 20 years ago in which kids would explore a dungeon together? The dungeon was a mix of poor CGI and props. One of the kids had to wear a “helmet of justice” and couldn’t see out from it while his friends tried to navigate him (or her) out of danger by with insightful instructions like “you’re in a room” and “walk three paces forwards”.
It helps if you remember if. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about then, oddly, the chaos of Knightmare Live may still appeal.
I have fond memories of the show and of the first reincarnation of the show at last year’s festival. Last year the stage was falling down, I lucked out and scored Doctor Who actors (Dan Starky and Nieve Macintosh) as guests and the crowd was suitably divided on how to solve those dangerous puzzles.
The biggest change this year is that the success of the show has blessed them with budget. I think the team have done a great job with that cash. They’ve spent it where it matters so there’s still elements of the shoestring (goblins with badly fitting masks) and then pleasant surprises when the special effects need to go to town.
The venue is better this year too. They’ve escaped the cramped room they had in Teviot/Gilded Balloon and are now in the Pleasance. There’s space. There’s less risk of the horns on the helmet of justice knocking down the portals/gateways/forest paths.
Oddly, I rather miss the chaos of the collapsing set.
All the important ingredients to a very funny show are still there. Lord Fear, bless his evil heart, is fabulously funny. Treguard of Dunshelm is equally quick witted. The banter and adlib between the two is perfect.
Our trip to the dungeon this year was a little surreal. The dungeoneer wasn’t a school kid but a woman with bright red hair and an equally bright leather skirt. After donning the Helmet of Justice and turning around to face the set – the audience discovered she had “Team Lord Fear” printed on her backside. Lord Fear approved.
That goes to show that sometimes working with volunteers from the audience has its risks. Credit where credit is due – our Lord Fear loving contestant did a sterling job on her quest to find the chalice. I think the fact that she had a warrior’s name helped.
Is the show kid-safe? More or less. There’s improvisational acting and therefore a little risk. We had just a touch or two of innuendo but nothing too bad. Despite the hilarity it does get quite intense when there’s a club carrying goblin stalking towards the blind dungeoneer.
Overall? Loved it.