Horrible Histories Barmy Britain

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain
Horrible Histories Barmy Britain
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Grand Theatre - Blackpool

Horrible Histories is just a daft TV programme for kids, isn’t it?

Well that’s what I thought before taking my family to the live adaptation at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.

The show begins with a challenge, is Britain barmy or great? A sort of boys vs girls on a trip through history – but who will win?

A slick set and quick costume changes took the family audience smoothly through various points in British history, from Roman conquests and Viking invasions, to our various foreign monarchs.

Every segment of our journey was filled with facts, songs and a huge dollop of slapstick, which even as a supposed adult was fun to watch.

Modern references are also cleverly woven into the stories, with sketches including a Henry VIII Blue Peter special, Who Wants To Blow Up Parliament quiz show, and an Only Way Is Essex spin on the Dick Turpin tale.

At the interval the audience were told to collect their 3D glasses, which seems to be the modern standard in most kids theatre performances these days.

In the second half, we carry on from where we left off, in the Elizabethan era, and the background graphics that had been projected all the way through the performance are now in 3D, although I am not sure this was totally necessary.

As well as the special effects and humour, there were also some incredibly dark and thought-provoking moments, none of which more poignant than the final few scenes, which appropriately focused on the huge losses during the First World War.

This entertaining potted history of Britain is detailed enough that you are guaranteed to learn something, while being brief and light enough to keep the kids entertained.

My highlight was the Burke and Hare song, to the tune of Postman Pat.

This was as equally dark as it was amusing, and as the wife and I seemed to enjoy the show as much as my daughter, it made me realise that this kid’s TV show may be silly, but that is all part of its charm.

Colin Ainscough