Note: This review is from the 2016 Fringe

Adapting a children’s TV programme into a theatre show for its (now adult) fan base could be a recipe for failure or success. Get it wrong and the loyal many will resent every minute, get it right and it becomes a cult hit. If you love a TV programme, it can be very disappointing to watch a lazy take-off with a few bad wigs and a cast that clearly just isn’t as into it as you are. Knightmare Live, however, contains the kind of attention to detail and quality that could only come from true Knightmare fans.

This year, as the title would suggest, the game has changed. Fortunately, it hasn’t changed a lot and neither would we want it to, but there are just enough tweaks and developments to freshen the format without losing sight of its magic formula. Now, several years since its incarnation and after a good deal of success, the inevitable increase of money in the pot has allowed for better quality staging and graphics. The show does benefit from this, although it also retains the nostalgically naff elements where appropriate.

Paul Flannery is fantastic as Treguard, perfectly personifying the voice and character of Hugo Myatt’s original, but with the added bonus of his satirical narrative, witty ad libs and wry observations. Brendan Murphy as Lord Fear is much like a panto villain in the outworking of his evil machinations as he acts as antagonist in the “plot”. The loose structure of the show (which is mainly improvised and therefore different at every performance) manages to stay true to its interpretation of the original, yet allowing for a good deal of riffing, as much of the action, dialogue, props – and all of the contestants – change nightly.

Those who weren’t ardent fans of the original might still find it funny, but certainly won’t appreciate the details, get the jokes, or understand why on earth the audience keep shouting out banal catchphrases on cue and in unison. So it’s pretty niche. But, for a generation for whom this was an intrinsic and exciting part of after school viewing once upon a time, this is spot on – a nostalgic, well produced and hilarious highlight of the Fringe.