What’s it all about?
True to its name, Horrible Histories: The Best Of Barmy Britain showcases some of the barmiest moments in British history: highlighting events and individuals that shaped the nation, from Boudica to Queen Victoria. As fans of Terry Deary’s sensational Horrible Histories book series will know, this is history with all the gruesome bits left in. Cue songs about death (“She will, she will SMASH YOU”), tips on how to spot the plague and a delightfully detailed description of the particulars of being hung, drawn and quartered. Not to worry, though, there’s plenty of good-natured toilet humour in there too.
Who’s in it?
A two-hander, the production is entirely led by a pair of stalwarts of the Birmingham Stage Company, Actor/Manager Neal Foster and Alison Fitzjohn (recently seen in the Olivier Award nominated production, Alice’s Adventures Underground). Brimming with energy and enthusiasm, they lead the audience through a rousing selection of ditties (Henry The Eighth Was A Big Fat Man was a personal favourite), impersonating swathes of different historical personages with flawless accents and deft comic timing. They also pull off what are surely the most impressive range of facial expressions currently on show in the West End.
What should I look out for?
With over 2000 years of history to cover, Best Of Barmy Britain has a lot to facts to cram into a one act show, so listen out for the facts hidden in the many songs and rhymes. (Did you know that Anne Boleyn had six fingers on one hand? Or that the temperature in Pudding Lane during the Great Fire of London reached 1700⁰C?)
Children should keep their eyes peeled for the array of costumes and props used throughout the play (arguably London’s best dressing up box) while adults should listen out for the jokes inserted specially for them, including throwaway references to politicians and a certain referendum…
What’s being said on Twitter?
The Best of Barmy Britain is the usual high quality barmy fun. Fine formula & loads of talent.@HHLiveOnStage
— Susan Elkin (@SusanElkinJourn) August 9, 2016
Absolutely loved @HHLiveOnStage this afternoon!! Take your kids down to the Apollo Theatre. Great show!
— Tom Summers (@tomsummers90) August 8, 2016
In a nutshell?
Silly, spooky and extremely smart, Barmy Britain is a joyful celebration of the weird and wonderful history of the British Isles.
Will I like it?
Anyone who has seen and enjoyed any other Horrible Histories stage show will be pleased to know that the Birmingham Stage Company have created another cracker of a production. A sort of greatest hits album for British history, it’s full of charm and cheek. So prepare yourself for a fun, fast-paced and fact-filled show, sure to leave both adults and children with aching ribs and very wide grins.
Horrible Histories: The Best Of Barmy Britain runs at the Apollo Theatre until 3 September. You can book your tickets through us here. It is also a participating show in Kids Week, our annual kids go free promotion. For more information, visit the Kids Week website.