The touring shows "Awful Egyptians" and "Terrible Tudors" seen on tour in Bristol.
A disappointingly small audience at the Bristol Hippodrome for Thursday morning's show, Horrible Histories. Still, it was pushing 40 degrees outside and, as I discovered, kids can make a lot of noise when encouraged.
Horrible Histories stage show is based off the successful children's book series, and its aim is to educate children about history by focusing on the most grisly, gruesome, and gross bits. All the stuff kids love, basically. Birmingham Stage Company bring the Tudors to life in the first half, with the trio of actors all playing multiple parts. With just a box of costumes and some puppets, we're taught the history of King Henry VII and Henry VIII at breakneck speed, including a song to remember the order in which Henry VIII dispatched his wives. Parents, that song will haunt you.
The second half takes us through the Egyptian Era; again far too quickly, but then equally, the speed and pace of it all is well suited to a younger audience who never seem to get bored. There's also a section involving the entire audience wearing 3D glasses, called Bogglevision, which was a huge hit.
Horrible Histories does not shy away from detailing the worst bits of history, and while many kids will love it, be careful if your child is of a very sensitive nature. My youngest was quite upset by a depiction of a woman being burnt at the stake, even though it was played for laughs. There's also lots of information about the Egyptian mummies, which my middle child was totally gripped by. Overall, the energy and pacing of the show is fantastic, but it does have its target audience. Kids between 6 and 10 will most likely love it. Any older than that, and they're likely to think it uncool. I speak from experience when I say don't take a teenager.
The beauty of Horrible Histories is it engages kids with a topic they often find boring, and relishes in details that are often overlooked in schools. The audience at the Hippodrome loved it, and if you’re looking to escape the heat and be entertained for a couple of hours, pay this show a visit.