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Knightmare Live - What, Where, and How

By Alan Boyd

Paul Flannery talks about the upcoming show - Knightmare Live, which is due to appear at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival.


The beginning

Knightmare Live began in the bastion of all good ideas; the pub. A discussion had begun about shows we'd like to see at the Edinburgh Festival (A popular topic having taken 2 shows there previously myself).

Everything was mooted from the sublime (Crystal Maze) to the ridiculous (Fun House) and eventually, after several ciders, Knightmare came up. The more it was discussed, the more practical and fun ideas presented themselves. Knightmare, it seemed, was do-able. I had always been a fan of the show as a child, shouting at the screen when the teams made a wrong decision and getting butterflies any time the lovely Sidriss appeared (the same is true today).

Fast forward 4 months

I write to you covered in glue, paint, fibre glass and a myriad of other materials. My flat looks like a bomb site and I haven't had a day off in over a month (I also am having the time of my life!). It seems an age ago that a lengthy exchange of emails managed to track down Tim Child and ask his permission to put the show on. "Welcome to level one" he wrote, it was very exciting. An idea was pitched, some preliminary sketches sent and after a few riddles were answered he, very generously, allowed us the rights to perform. That was back in Late February.

Where are we now? Rehearsals are in full flow, new room ideas and puzzles are still being thrown around. The immense amount of logistics are too varied (and boring) to go into. The lovely people at Runescape have generously provided us with prizes for all the participants at the festival. Their CEO is a huge Knightmare fan and was one of the first to pledge for a spot in the show stating 'I wouldn't be where I am today without Knightmare'.

The Edinburgh Festival

Putting on a show at the Edinburgh festival is utter mayhem, heart breaking, soul destroying and utterly wonderful all at the same time. That's if you don't have a lot of production, Knightmare Live is covered in it! The preliminary planning went something like this; Search for a producer to help take it to Edinburgh. Then find a venue with a large enough stage space (and not too many seats just in case) and it has to have a flat stage (blind person wandering about remember, one slip and the whole thing's off) also raked seating so that the audience can see the floor puzzles.

Also had to consider the ethos of the festival; you have a 1 hour slot, about 8 minutes to 'get in' and you have to find a way to cram 8 series of Knightmare into it that retains the charm of the original but is consistent enough to review and, hopefully, contains a few surprises that the fans have never seen before, whew!

Surprises, what surprises?

I hate spoilers, so, just for the Knightmare fans (Or 'Knighties' as Hugo Myatt told me you were called, spell casting; NAME DROP) I can tell you a few things that won't be in the show:

Falling floors. As much as I love them and they are an integral part of the original show, it's almost impossible to do onstage. Even if we used projectors and lighting effects, having the floor fall away would have been expensive and underwhelming, let's face it, no one would fall, we'd just have to go to black out, yawn.

There's no flying dragons (What do you mean 'why?') and there's no Pickle. Firstly there's not enough actors, also I've been getting the sense that not all of you would welcome his return.

Oh ok here's some things that ARE in the show. We've got Lord Fear (The fantastic Tom Bell) who's been looking after the dungeon while Treguard has been absent. You can see some of Tom doing some 'off duty' Lord Fear interviews. And we've given Mistress Goody (Amee Smith) a major part to play in the live show, despite only having a bit part in the original (We felt it gave us more license with her rather than mess about with a fan favourite).

There will be main characters in the show but all have been living under the iron fist of Lord Fear for 20 years, the dungeon has changed and so have they. We want to explore the idea of Treguard reintegrating himself into his former home and how the inhabitants would regard him. The underlying message is that, despite his absence (And the absence of the show) we think the dungeon still has a lot to offer.

Stepping boldly forwards

As you can imagine, producing this show in the ambitious way we envisage costs a lot of money. Construction of the set, costumes and puppets (Yeah puppets!) is underway but we need as much help as we can get. Our kickstarter campaign has had a really good start but we need another push to get us to our target. Our rewards are fantastic and we'll be adding more very soon so please keep up with us on twitter @knightmarelive and on our Facebook page.

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