It was cheap (this was 1980s UK children’s TV, after all) and cheerful and perfect nerd fodder. It was also surprisingly harsh for a kid’s show - in the first episode alone, the kids fail to pick up a lantern and so, three rooms later when they need it, find themselves trapped in the dark and die. No going easy on the youngsters in this show!
Why tell you all this? Well, at the moment, the Southbank currently has its annual Udderbelly Festival of music, comedy and cabaret and part of this festival was…
It’s part loving tribute and part comedy show and works very well. Audience members can nominate a friend in advance of the show to be the adventurer (I wisely decided to steer clear of the stage for this show) and helper goblins take objects from the audience to use as part of the quests so there’s an element of improv to it, meaning that the shows will never be quite be the same twice.
There’s a makeshift ramshackle air to the whole thing which adds to the fun and a general feel of audience participation - it was clear from some of the comments shouted out that quite a few people had been to see the show before. It’s nerdy but it knows it and frequently comments upon the fact (there aren’t many shows where the audience cheer a knapsack and the phrase “you’re in a room” is a shout-along catchphrase). Although based on a kids show, it’s not overly a show for kids - as evidenced by them pulling a last adventurer out of the audience at random who happened to be very young thus making some of the jokes somewhat less appropriate (but probably funnier for it).
Definitely one that’s worth a watch if you can get along (there’s one more performance of it in July) and just keep telling yourself it’s only a game…..isn’t it?