This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain at the invitation of The Alexandra.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Review: Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain at The Alexandra
Directed by Neal Foster with music by Matthew Scott
The stage is filled with a huge screen and a huge wicker trunk that looks like the sort touring productions used to take from venue to venue in times gone by. There are costumes hanging in both wings of the stage and two archways, like you might see at an old castle. Welcome to the world of Horrible Histories.
With just two performers on stage (Jack Ballard as Rex and Morgan Philpott as Roger) and a running time of 82 minutes plus a 15 minute interval, Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain is every bit as fast-paced as its tv show counterpart. It more than lives up to its promise of being an interactive history show with “The nasty bits left in”.
I found myself singing new songs, doing some actions and laughing throughout at jokes which varied from punny to clever. There are lots of jokes about bodily functions which the kids around the theatre loved!
There are impressions galore and the show uses parodies of tv productions over the past ten years like The Only Way is Essex, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Undercover Boss to really engage its audience with facts about history.
At this production, we learn about Body Snatchers, Dick Turpin, Guy Fawkes, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. Considering the amount of costume changes there is hardly a second without one of the actors on stage.
During the interval, the audience is issued with “Sunglasses” which are updated versions of 3D glasses they used to have in the 70s/80s and the whole of the second half uses 3D projection on the big screen behind the actors, including a moment where a corpse sits up and its skull bursts out of its face towards the audience! (Grim, but again most of the kids loved it!!)
Jack Ballard and Morgan Philpott are both excellent with their range of accents, voices and characters. There was a deathly silence when the audience was asked “Would you like to join our Essex gang?”. No, we are Brummies! Duh!
I discovered Horrible Histories TV show through BBC One’s Ghosts as it features most of that cast so to see the same humour and enthusiasm transferred to the stage with different actors was great. And I learnt quite a few things I didn’t previously know.
A humorous look at grim facts in history, Horrible Histories is at The Alexandra until Saturday 4th December. Book tickets here: atgtickets.com/shows/horrible-histories-barmy-britain/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham