Gilded Balloon (venue 14)
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You can see it in the rapt, shiny, happy faces of the audience, you can hear it in the waves of laughter that roll from the time they hear “Enter Stranger!”, and feel it in the palpable delight this room full of thirty-somethings takes in each catchphrase and each character as they appear in this, the first live reworking of Tim Child’s iconoclastic 1980s TV creation Knightmare.
A cast of three are stage crew as well as a collection of fondly remembered goblins, lady warriors, wall demons and crazy old crones. Each day a different Dungeoneer will don the Helmet of Justice and blindly brave the challenges that await him in the various rooms in the Dungeon. At previews, the team have had one guy who played and won on the TV show aged 8 and came back to play again, at the age of 31. Our brave (but ultimately dead) contestant was Euan McLaren who seemed to be having the best night of his life. Each night the Guides will be different comics. Yesterday’s preview had Paul Duncan McGarrity who was like a very tall, funny, excited child. 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.
This is a funny, fond hour and I can see it becoming not just a must-see for audiences but a must-do for comics. An hour amidst the specs and facial hair of a hardcore Knightmare audience really is a Fringe experience you want to have.