By Michelle Rawlins at Grand Opera House, York
Those Terrible Tudors were really quite torrid, but this Horrible Histories theatre production by the acclaimed Birmingham Stage Company is just the opposite – and in fact totally terrific!
With raucous rapping royalty, eye popping 3D special effects and a hilarious battle with the Catholic Pope, you would be hard pushed not to be thoroughly entertained by this incredibly lively and genuinely educational show.
In the eyes of my nine-year-old son, never has history been so much fun. No boring lessons here – instead it’s 90 minutes of side splitting laughter as the exceptionally talented cast of three take you from blood curdling battle of the Battle of Bosworth, where Richard III was so horrifically defeated by Henry VII, through to the slow and painful death of Elizabeth I.
Without even realising, you will discover how Edward VI became dead in his bed, why Bloody Mary really was one of the cruellest queens ever to have reigned and how the Elizabeth I smashed the Spanish Armada but left her loyal soldiers starving in return.
There’s no doubt it was a gruesome period of history. Petty criminals would have their ears or hands chopped off – for simply stealing a loaf of bread. Murderers would be burnt at the stake and heaven forbid if you got in the way of Henry VIII, who had no qualms of executing anyone who got in his way, including two of his six wives. There’s a reason the rhyme ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived’ came into existence and by the end of the show every member of the audience were chanting it after a competition to see which side of the theatre could sing the loudest.
No child (or adult for that matter) should miss the chance to see this absolute masterpiece of entertainment. If Lisa Allen, Simon Nock and Izaak Cainer (son of Jonathan Cainer) weren’t funny enough, in the second half of the show, the audience are given their ‘boggle goggles’. Arrows and fireworks whiz past their eyes to spontaneous laughter and applause leaving the whole theatre in raptures of giggles, accompanied by gasps of excitement.
It should be made a cardinal sin (I’m sure Henry VIII would have agreed) not to take your kids to see this mesmerising and spectacular show. It really is fun, fun, fun all the way!
Showing until November 3rd then touring nationally – see details here
Prices: Start at £14
Photos by Mark Douet