REVIEW: HORRIBLE HISTORIES – THE BEST OF BARMY BRITAIN (Apollo Theatre) ★★★★★
The 5th anniversary of the Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain series is being celebrated in the West End with a Best Of Barmy Britain show which aims to teach 5-10 year olds about history through fun, acted out scenes and songs.
I was never very good at history at school and to be honest I wasn’t particularly interested in any of it. I don’t know what it’s like these days but it was never taught in an exciting fun way. Horrible Histories couldn’t be a more fun way to learn history. Last year when I saw the show for the first time, I learnt that the Magna Carta was not a boat. For some reason I had lived my whole life thinking it was but now I know it was actually the document that introduced the law and stopped the King from being able to punish or kill who ever he choose and for any reason he likes. So I was excited to go along and see this years show ‘The Best Of Barmy Britain, to see what else I might learn!
Now, here’s a little fact about me you might not know. I love watching The Chase on TV in the afternoons before I go out to the theatre. But unless the questions are about theatre I’m pretty useless. I’ve even got the app on my phone but I’ve never successfully made it through round one because I don’t know enough of the answers. Well I now feel very smug with myself because I’ve now learnt the names of all King Henry VIII’s wives, in order and I know how each of them died. Those kind of questions are always on the show and so I’m thrilled to have learnt something useful!
Other fun historical topics that are acted out in the show include a game of ‘Who Wants To Blow Up Parliament’ with contestant Guy Fawkes which tells the story of the gunpowder plot many years ago, told in a way of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Boudica, the woman who fort the Romans when they invaded us, sings “We will, we will smash you” set to the tune of We Will Rock You and we even learn about the Black Death! Set to the modern TV show The Great British Bake Off, we learn about the Great fire of London which started off on Pudding Lane and burned through thousands of houses in the city.
Neal Foster and Alison Fitzjoh are a brilliantly comical pairing for this show. They run around the stage dressing up in different outfits, whilst never leaving the stage. Alison Fitzjoh has an incredible stage presence and powerful singing voice which really added to the performance.
Horrible Histories: The Best Of Barmy Britain is one of the best shows you could take your kids to this summer. And adults might learn a thing or two as well! I know I did.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Horrible Histories – The Best Of Barmy Britain plays at the Apollo Theatre until 3 September 2016. Tickets