Horrible Histories is a firm favourite in our household. We’ve spent many an hour enjoying the TV series based on the books of the same name by Terry Deary which have sold more than 25 million copies around the world.
The stories bring to life historical facts with humour, parody and lots of gruesome gore and slime, which kids love!
Our little one has been watching the show since she was five. Now aged 13, we weren’t sure if she’d still enjoy it but we needn’t have worried; she loved it!
Despite having only three cast members, the live show manages to capture the spirit of the TV series very well.
It opens with a student and his teacher locked in a museum. A statue of Ramesses the Great comes to life and the adventure begins!
Subjects on the agenda include the mummification process, Tutankhamun’s rise to power and the discovery of his tomb.
The first 15 minutes or so lacked a little pace and I sensed some of the younger children in the audience were a little distracted but the cast then go into their stride. A panto-style splitting of the audience to sing a song with actions helped to pick things up.
With limited props, the production makes good use of a big screen with some clever animation and the energetic cast – Simon Nook, Lisa Allen and Isaack Cainer – do an awesome job with many swift costume changes at a frenetic pace.
As with the TV series, there are several in-jokes to keep the adults entertained too.
A pharaoh with a striking resemblance to Donald Trump (“Let’s make Egypt great again”) and a parody of 90s show Changing Rooms sees the Pharoah (aka Donald) being built a giant wall for his pyramid.
The first act was very enjoyable but the second half was a step beyond with ‘3D Booglevision’ the star of the show.
The screen stays in 3D for the entire second act with bugs, snakes and falling rubble flying in front of our faces which left the small kids (and indeed us bigger kids) squealing with delight.
An ingenious take on Crystal Maze as we join our heroes to search a tomb for treasures is particularly good.
This theatre version of Horrible Histories does Terry Deary’s original vision proud and we’re pleased that our cool teenager was still entertained. As for us adults, I did a history degree but it definitely wasn’t this much fun!
The final performance of Horrible Histories – Awful Egyptians at Bristol Hippodrome is on 27 July at 2.30pm. Horrible Histories – Terrible Tudors follows at 7pm.