Before continuing to read this review I feel I must offer a disclaimer. The following review of Knightmare Live really only applies to people who are familiar with the hit children’s TV show of the nineties, Knightmare. If you have never heard of this TV show, don’t go and see it live. It’s as simple as that. However, if you are acquainted with the series… then continue reading dungoneers.
Knightmare Live is a fantastically silly romp through the imaginary realm of Treguard’s dungeon. Using the same premise as the television series, one volunteer wearing a sight obstructing helmet is guided around the stage by two guest comedians, where he encounters all manner of villainous characters and situations. Now this in itself is a hilarious premise and the mere fact that the volunteer may at any point be launched off the stage and into the audience, is exciting.
But of course, the guest comedians are not left by themselves to help their fellow dungeoneer on his quest. A Robin Hood-eqsue Treguard cuts a dashing figure on stage and together with the evil Lord Fear, they bring the audience to hysterics. Part following a scripted plot and half improvising, the pair of them manage to bring back the audience’s memories of The Really Wild Show, Neil Buchanan and Pat Sharp in a giggle inducing style. Their true skill lies in being able to read the crowd, react to completely improbable situations and retort to heckles, all whilst in character.
In the same way that the original television series had a ramshackle feel to it, the set is delightfully flimsy and the actors draw attention to its flat pack nature for comedic effect. But despite a couple of sound issues, it’s not to say that this production looks cheap (the six foot dragon attests to that!) In the same way Knightmare asked viewers to draw upon their imaginations, this production brings the audience in on the joke and everyone plays along.
At its core, Knightmare Live is a nostalgic trip down memory lane and a brilliant spoof of a much loved children’s TV series. When a very special guest is brought on (there’ll be no spoilers from me as to who it was) the standing ovation was so quick off the mark and rapturous I feared people in the balcony would jump off in order to touch him. If you’ve seen the TV series and have a good sense of humour, you can’t fail to enjoy this homage to Knightmare.
4 stars (for fans of Knightmare, otherwise why would you see it?)
Reviewed by Roz Carter