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A look out how Knightmare Live has fared since its London preview shows. Updated to cover the entire Edinburgh run.

Since I wrote my review of the July 18th Knightmare Live preview, and left it to mature like a cheese or a wine or a dungeoneer with separation anxiety, Paul Flannery, Tom Bell and co have trodden the path to Edinburgh - after a mighty send off by the BBC, no less - to get down to Festival business at the Gilded Balloon. Not sure how they got past Hadrian's Wall though. Horn of Jericho? Riddles? Compliments? They do say that flannery will get you everywhere. More on Hadrian later. Anyway, my review had been written on the premise that what I'd watched at Preview 2 was the shape of things to come.

And now Edinburgh has replied to that: to coin a phrase, truth accepted. As evidence of this, you'll find quotations from a host of quadristellar and quinquestellar reviews as you venture down this page.

'The parallels between staging a Fringe show and facing the dungeon of Knightmare Live are almost so delicious that I need only sniff the misery and tears of the Edinburgh night air to be reminded of my home. Poor innocent souls venture blind, into a dank, gothic environment dressed as jesters, scratch around desperately for food, creep painfully towards completing their quest and when success looks to be in reach, they are ruthlessly killed off. Many enter the Fringe, few leave alive.' Lord Fear, Edinburgh is Funny

Between the London previews and Edinburgh shows was when the filming of the new Knightmare episode for YouTube's Geek Week took place. It was as guests at this filming in Norwich that the Knightmare Live cast crossed paths once again with advisor-turned-webmaster-turned-dungeoneer Alan Boyd, whose on-site interviewing of Paul and Tom has yielded some more behind the scenes insights.

Tom and Paul described to Alan how time consuming preparation for parts of the show have been. Unwilling to do things in half measures or to produce something that wasn't "Knightmare", it's clear that a great deal of time has been spent in producing the show. The consensus among the Preview 2 audience, clearly replicated among the Fringe audiences, was that this time was indeed necessary and has been well spent, resulting in a high quality production loved by the Knightmare Live watchers.

'Making Knightmare for the stage looks, frankly, like a bit of a pain in the arse. There's a list of credits on the Knightmare Live website which should be read. Without the staging (inevitably more complex than most Fringe shows, but it looks like its been effectively designed) it would feel somewhat hollow. The Kickstarter money is put to good use.' Den Of Geek * * * *

'The show doesn't take itself too seriously, though it's actually a real technical achievement. Every room change necessitates a complete change of scenery and props and some of these, such as the wall demon, are impressively complex. Whilst the constant running around of most of the cast members does interrupt the flow slightly, the set changes are remarkably smooth and any slight awkwardness usually adds to the fun.' Broadway Baby * * * *

'It was also amazing to see just how much of the show many of the audience could remember given that it hasn’t been on television regularly for the best part of two decades.' One4Review * * * *

As a contestant at Preview 2, Alan was well placed to observe that behind the scenes, true to Knightmare form, the various members of the cast quickly swap from one persona to another with the skill and speed that the cast of Knightmare would be proud of. The characters include a number of strong female characters, all played by the devastatingly adept Amee Smith, which both Tom and Paul remembered from the Knightmare TV series and were keen to keep in Knightmare Live.

'With various characters including goblins and witches and some old favourites, the four person performance team were each given a chance to shine with great ad-libbing and audience interaction throughout. Delightful and fresh, this was an exciting trip down memory lane.' Informed Edinburgh * * * *

In fact, it's a memory lane trip and more besides. For as with Knightmare, while the journey ahead may lead to familiar places, it's by definition a trip into the unknown every time. And the ability to respond to the unknown just goes to emphasise the effort that the cast and crew have gone to, in order to make the show dynamic and open-ended while still making the show entertaining to watch. A number of different endings ensures that the show is not only re-watchable but maintains the excitement with the audience as it remains entirely unclear what the final outcome will be or how, indeed, the team will reach that ending.

'So, I have tickets to see @KnightmareLive on Sunday [25th August]. That will make it 4 times. And god help me I'm tempted to go again later this week.' @Colicub

'@KnightmareLive was so good that I'm going again :-)' @elliottbower, August 14th

'Treguard quipped that there were a lot of puzzled girlfriends in the crowd who seemed unsure why phrases like “you’re in a room” or “sidestep” were able to generate laughs, I feel sorry for anybody that missed out on Knightmare as a child but this is the perfect opportunity to start your childhood all over again.' EdinBlogger * * * *

True to Knightmare, variety is provided by a high turnover of teams. Unlike the target audience, which is intended to include both hardcore fans and people who only vaguely remember and expect particularly iconic bits of Knightmare (the Helmet, the knapsack, the wall monsters etc.), the advisors are all comedians that have demonstrated or expressed particular interest in Knightmare. Paul has explained that this choice is motivated by a desire to have advisors that are excited by Knightmare, and thereby transfer their excitement into the audience. "We want the audience to want to be the ones guiding the dungeoneer."

The tweeting of Knightmare Live's dungeoneers and advisors, alongside that of @KnightmareLive and @LordFearlive, offers a timeline of questing:

'I GOT KILLED WITH THE CROWN IN SIGHT! Knightmare is well worth a watch, such a cool #EdFringe show' Paul D McGarrity, July 31st

'Just remembered how good it was killing a dungeoneer in #KnightmareLive today. Lissard! Bring me fresh victims.' - LordFearlive

(A myriad photos from the show can be seen here but they do contain a spoiler or two.)

km live aug 3rd'Sold out audience of willing watchers, a cracking team @jessicafostekew @matthighton & the blades got oh so close to our dungeoneer!' KnightmareLive, August 2nd

'So @KnightmareLive was both a childhood dream and one of the most fun things I've ever done. Can not praise it enough!!' Matthew Highton, August 2nd

'Brave dungeoneer Adrian brought his nephew along to @knightmarelive today. To witness his TOTAL DESTRUCTION #evil http://pic.twitter.com/axCzvonrjR' - LordFearlive, August 3rd

'The crowd whoop and cheer at every one of Treguard's stock phrases, drown out Lord Fear's villainous laughs with boos and jeers, and help me solve the riddles that I have no hope of answering. They even applaud Adrian and I, despite our failure. The whole thing is a nostalgia trip on a Odyssian scale, with the audience phasing across time back to their own childhoods, and laughing at the demons of the past.' Jonny Ensall writing for Time Out

km live aug 4th'The Grandees take the crown! Huge fun guest appearing @KnightmareLive today. Victory was ours...just. http://pic.twitter.com/kiYGHtyNuW'  The Grandees, August 4th

 

'THANKYOU to @KnightmareLive for having me on as Dungeoneer. I had a fantastic time, and I got @LordFearlive in a tizz! #winner'  Relly Annett-Baker, August 6th

 

'Rejuvenated after @KnightmareLive yesterday [August 8th]. Played with @simonfeilder for Steve (in the helmet) & we won! #edfringe http://pic.twitter.com/s5k2QAe62D'  Juliette Burton, August 9th, pictured

'Stopped keeping score as I'm too busy mopping up all the blood from dead dungeoneers' LordFearLive, August 9th

'Brilliant crowd tonight for the show. Then had a wonderful time at @KnightmareLive, make sure to catch it if you can!'  Rhys Morgan, advisor alongside Robert West, August 10th

km live aug 11th'A xylophone solo and perishing in the room of blades all part of my amazing adventure. Thanks #Knightmarelive http://pic.twitter.com/tyYnr7rHej' Lizi R, August 11th

'Had a ruddy beautiful time @KnightmareLive [on August 11th]. What a cracking show. Well done those men.' Luke Benson, August 11th

'just did knightmare. sh*t of a good time.' - thom tuck, August 11th

'Today's guests are @m_croser & @flangekrammer 17:30' KnightmareLive

'That was so much fun. Alas I died in the room of blades. I do a mean sidestep left though.' Ade Bradley, August 12th

'Alec Westwood (Folly, Gibbet) at Knightmare LiveThe actor who played the jester Folly came to @KnightmareLive today! He loved the show and made the team very happy! http://pic.twitter.com/4dNLcgWsJR' Matt Blair (Knightmare Live composer), August 12th

'2 shows today!! Late one at 21:30 added, guides are @NoiseNextDoor' KnightmareLive

'Worst Knightmare Live guides ever. Sorry Sarah. We might as well have just strapped a bomb to you :(' Doug Segal, August 13th, advisor alongside Paul Gannon
http://pic.twitter.com/7PtuBLufz0

'km live aug 13th@doug_segal @PaulGannonShow You made up for it with your ability to tell me to LEG IT! (it's Sarah, not Helen or Susan as you also said :D)'  Sarah Beamish

'@KnightmareLive Ruddy brilliant fun last night chaps. Well played.' Mr.B the @gentlemanrhymer, August 13th

A full review of the August 13th show by consummate Knightmarian and thespian Billy Hicks can be read here.

'It's been a bad week for dungeoneers so far. A day off tomorrow to clear some of the flesh from the blades. They are clogging up from kills' LordFearlive, August 13th

'Totally overwhelmed by the amazing response to our show, thanks to everyone who's seen it and those planning to come''KnightmareLive, August 14th

'Thanks to @KnightmareLive [advisors] @peacockgamble & @tombellforever for a cracking (yet futile) quest at @Gildedballoon today. Don't miss it.' Tony, August 15th dungeoneer

'[On August 16th] we have @BenVanDerVelde & @AlexisDubus , we're counting on you guys, no pressure! #needawin @LordFearlive is laughing at me' KnightmareLive

'Yeah! Big win yesterday [August 17th], @horseandlouis & @tomclutterbuck were great. Blades dodged'  KnightmareLive

'Massive win today!! What a team @mcneilpamphilon and what a great dungeoneer in Mark Olgivie, very happy Dungeon Master over here' KnightmareLive, August 18th

'This afternoon, all of @betamalescomedy won @KnightmareLive. Best. Edinburgh. Ever. #EdFringe ... So many childhood dreams have been fulfilled' Jon Gracey of The Beta Males), August 19th

'We won! @KnightmareLive http://pic.twitter.com/Yq7HN2jLD4' Guy of The Beta Males, August 19th

Thanks to @betamalescomedy i survived @KnightmareLive with minor arm grazes. Hope @misterspidergod and @ladycariad beat @LordFearlive 2moro' Gareth Adams, August 19th

Playing frikkin' Knightmare Live at 5.30! ... I'm on the panel. So very excited!

We lost sadly. Chopped by blades.' Tiernan Douieb, August 20th

'That was awesome :) wearing the helmet of justice is hot...and quite disorienting...and I died a little...but great fun thanks' Lizzie Bell, August 20th

km live aug 22nd'Tactic to beating @LordFearLive... LUNGE! @KnightmareLive To all of you - thanks. Seriously, was amazing. But hot.' Richard Lowe, August 22nd http://pic.twitter.com/bxDTp8ud8x

'At last! #DoctorWho meets #Knightmare on 22nd August as @StanDarkley and @McIntoshNeve [a.k.a. Strax and Madam Vastra] attempt to beat the @KnightmareLive dungeon.' @tombellforever

'The comedy comes from the real life, real time, real people attempt to complete the missions. Whether it’s the guest helpers confusing left and right in the heat of the moment, a cheeky but quick witted quip from the blind dungeoneer or the back-and-forth between Treguard the Dungeon Master and Lord Fear there are plenty of comedy encounters.' Edinburgh Reviews on the August 22nd show * * * * *

'Amazing show today with [advisors @sarapascoe and @friskylaura] & Tom Butler, shame you died, was really rooting for you' KnightmareLive, August 23rd

km live aug 24th'Today's team progressive funk xylophoned their way to through level 1, got lost in the mist of level 2 before beating level 3, sort of' KnightmareLive, August 24th

' I had an awesome time, thanks for having me and finally letting me live my dream, woooo!' Claire Hall, August 24th

'so much fun playing !!!! http://pic.twitter.com/dJQAdhRNvU' Amy Howerska, advisor, August 24th

 

km live aug 25th'Incredible last show @Jonny_Baptists & @x20mar were a worthy team of the finale. Indeed Omar was the first dungeoneer plucked from the queue' KnightmareLive

'I completed the quest and had an awesome time thanks to the guys at @KnightmareLive. It was a dream come true! http://pic.twitter.com/RvMjXsFDsR' Omar Ali

'It's a results based system in the dungeon and I'm glad to say I hit my targets this fringe. Hit with blades #Edfringe' Lordfearlive

If you're after a ticket to see Knightmare Live in Edinburgh, may it not be too late! Edit: it is. For now...

BBC Scotland welcomed Knightmare Live with this report.

Paul and Tom were asked by Alan how they managed the balance between comedy and Knightmare (a balance remarked upon by Melissa Stevens in her review of the very first preview). Both actors agreed that it would have been both easy and lazy to undermine Knightmare, but that isn't how they feel about the show and it simply wouldn't be fair to produce a one-hour attack on such an iconic show. Instead, the fun comes from actually playing the game. Both Tom and Paul were also quick to remark on the comedy within Knightmare itself - particularly the improvisation from actors such as Mark Knight.

'Tom Bell is a tremendous Lord Fear – like Paul Flannery’s Treguard, tapdancing entertainingly along the fine line between playing the game and playing the audience.' The Scotsman * * * *

'Curious tasks, vicious goblins and Wall Monsters are all present and correct for long-term fans, while newbies are quickly won over by the outright surreal spectacle.' Big Issue * * * *

On the strength of everything we've seen and heard so far, there's no doubt that the cast and crew of Knightmare Live are delivering fantastic performances and a glorious mixture of both nostalgia and comedy without having to resort to an attack on the original. On the contrary, Knightmare's creator Tim Child should be proud.

'If you loved the original Knightmare, you’ll adore the nostalgia value of the original props and in-jokes, but what makes Knightmare Live really great is the ad-libbing from the cast, whose banter never misses a beat as they playfully mess with the rules of the game.'  The Independent * * * *

'The audience for the show I attended, when asked, roughly 25% hadn’t watched the show including the person sat next to me and he arguably was the one that was laughing the loudest in the room.' cmoorin.co.uk * * * * *
Callum Moorin has interviewed Paul Flannery too.

'The team have handled our childhoods with care and indulged our nostalgia with the perfect balance of humour and a genuine love of the show. What more could you ask for? Knightmare Live is worth getting excited about.' The Skinny * * * * * (Review by Vonny Moyes, August 7th's dungeoneer)

Knightmare Live main castIn my review, I hoped that Knightmare Live would live beyond Edinburgh, so I'm delighted that there will be a show on September 27th at London's Bloomsbury Theatre. It's a venue that would make a reasonably large room look reasonably small: unlike a rescue goblin's club, it's far from pokey. I know this because I was there several years ago to see a Greek tragedy. The Ancient Greeks invented theatre - they'd built up and broken down the fourth wall long before Hadrian's first and only Wall - and their audiences were known as theatai: watchers. I think you see the relevance. It seems from recent Knightmare Live tweets that this performance will be less Knightmare Live's last huzzah and more the first page of a new chapter. But one never quite knows with Knightmare, and it's an event either way, so please don't miss this opportunity.

Paul has reported to the Knightmare.com forum that since the London previews, 'the show's become a lot more slick and we've replaced the IOUs with real props.' One of these was a bar of gold. Regardless of what Knightmare Live did or didn't owe the watchers of illusion, it has given us gold. Here's hoping for plenty more.

The last word goes to David Walters, from his top notch review of Knightmare Live for Lloyd of Gamebooks:

'Just like its dungeoneer contestant in the famous helmet, the Knightmare franchise is asking 'Where am I now?' having just arrived at somewhere new. The answer is sure to be an interesting one.'

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