The Great British Bake Off, sympathetic Germans and cross-dressing performers will all play a part in the latest instalment of Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain when Part 3 of the fast-paced historical romp premieres in the West End this summer.
As with Part 2, which saw Take Me Out, TOWIE and Undercover Boss meet William Wallace, Boudicca and the Black Death, the third show in the series will see modern influences merge with moments of history.
Talking at the launch of Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 3, which was held at the Trafalgar Hotel earlier this week, the show’s star, director and co-writer Neal Foster said: “We’ve got the Great British Bake Off starting a new series in Pudding Lane and starting the Great Fire of London”.
The launch also saw Foster and his co-star Anthony Spargo perform an excerpt of the forthcoming show, in which Lord Horatio Nelson is asked for a doctor’s certificate to prove his blindness in one eye, a true story that the duo have succeeded in making highly entertaining.
Foster spoke about how the family show strikes a balance between historical fact and entertainment: “The most important thing is to entertain, but I suppose, like some of the stories we’ve told, what fires your imagination is finding something that no one knows. Not only that no one knows but no one will believe. That’s what you really want. Like the scene with Nelson. They didn’t really ask Nelson for a doctor’s certificate, did they? Yes they did.”
King John, the Duke of Wellington and the two World Wars will also feature in the show’s summer run. One such tale, which Foster learnt about in a newspaper, is that of Captain Campbell. The co-author told us: “We’ve got the story, a true story, about a British captain who was a prisoner of war in Germany and found out his mother was dying. The Germans gave him permission to come back to England to see his mother for two weeks as long as he promised to go back to Germany to the prisoner of war camp, which he did.”
For the first time in the Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain series, male actors will play both roles, but that doesn’t mean that women won’t play a part in the family production. As Spargo, told us: “It’s just an excuse for cross-dressing really”.
There is plenty more on offer that the duo hopes will “Engage children’s imaginations and creativity” and, as a new addition for Part 3, magnets will be used alongside the abundant Velcro to facilitate those high-speed costume changes.
You can take a sneak peek at some of the costumes that can be seen in the show in our images of the launch above.
Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain will run at the Garrick Theatre from 25 July to 5 September.