For fans of the original kids' show,
Knightmare Live is fantastic fun whether you be a dungeon master or a dunce.
The real magic of this show is the fine line it tows between reverence and mockery in every aspect of production. Central to this effect is an absolutely spellbinding cast: McGarrity, Flannery, Fostekew and Bell not only resurrect fan favourite characters, but simultaneously satirise the whole show in a way that endears them to the audience instantly. Bell's quick quips and little snickers as Lord Fear make it quite clear that there's a geeked-out fanboy grinning back at us from behind the black and white facepaint. Fostekew's imbecilic Pickle the elf, whose laughworthy lines are delivered in near-non sequitur with a face frozen in wide-eyed idiocy, perfectly captures the dodgy function of old-school scripted video games in lung-bustingly funny fashion.
In terms of design, conjuring up CITV's CGI dungeons is no mean feat. Knightmare Live's canvas and timber sixth-form-panto-style set is impressively imaginative, yet simultaneously shoddy enough to capture the ropey high-fantasy kitsch of the original broadcast. Testament to this balancing act is the fact that the show summons fully-articulated demons and dragons one minute, whilst our noble champion unwittingly walks through a wall and smashes up the flats at the back in the next.
The only critical chinks in Knightmare's armour are those inherent in its form, and these are minimal: With a different corps of comedian contestants each night, gag value may vary given their personal comic calibre (the evening I went our three heroes were a little insipid). Likewise, watching the merry band instruct one another on how to walk around a room - as per the original programme - grows older than one of the witches we meet in the dungeon.
Such grumbles, however, are negligible. Knightmare Live is fantastic fun whether you be a dungeon master or a dunce. Grab your wands, wallets and wizard's robes and go adventuring.