Barmy Britain? well yes actually!

Those fabulous people from Horrible Histories have done it again! Another wonderful show, this time all about us Barmy Brits!

Last night we trouped down to the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole (that’s Dorset, for those of you oop North), keen to get our annual fix of Horrible History; and weren’t disappointed either.

From raging mad Boudicca who had a thing for stomping on the Romans to the very extroverted Dick Turpin who took to our highways to relieve us of a penny or two but ultimately got caught all because of a….. chicken! There were marauding Vikings who just wanted to extend their property portfolio, and good old Henry VIII who wasn’t just satisfied with cutting off the heads of a few wives, but in fact some 70,000 or so more poor souls! Who knew (yes yes, Horrible Histories that’s who!)?



The fantastic two hour show takes the audience through nearly 2000 years of British history, showing us how completely barmy we can – and have – been. It was very very funny, and also managed to have the entire audience singing along to a couple of very mad songs – and of course there was plenty of high-pitched shrieking whilst ducking those horrible objects flung towards us with the magic aid of 3D technology.



For all the riotous nature of the show, when the plot turned towards the First World War there was a very quiet, atmospheric tingle in the theatre. I’m not sure if it’s because it was the 11th November, or if the show has the same effect every night. But when that 3D biplane buzzed over us, leaving a trail of poppies drifting silently down, I’m not sure there was a single person in the audience who was unaffected. I do know the hairs on the back of my neck stood up – and that the noisy audience filled with screechy children was oddly silent.

Horrible Histories

Ultimately though the show achieved its aim by riotously romping along, showing us that throughout our history we have behaved in a most bizarre and barmy fashion.

We could happily have lived without the special 3D effects – the cast are so strong that except for the WWI scene the 3D didn’t add anything to the show – in fact in places it felt like it was cheapening such a fabulous production, almost shoe-horned in because it was expected. The cast of four were all fantastic – in a couple of past shows one or two of the cast have outshone the others, but this time all four were equally excellent; captivating, funny and utterly entertaining.

And there was a suprising twist at the end of the show – a short, incisive commentary on today’s politics that seemed to hit home all the harder after the lessons of the previous couple of hours. It was unexpected, accurate – and the part of the play that was being talked about with our teens long after we’d finally got that flipping song out of our heads.
To find out, go see the show…it’s a bit mad.

And it’s properly brilliant.

Unfortunately it’s nearing the end of the tour, but you can see the last few dates through to mid-December here. Keep your eye on your local theatre listings though – Horrible Histories is ALWAYS a fabulous show for the whole family.

Author: Courtenay

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