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(4 / 5)

How do you describe history to children without boring them? How do you get their attention and make it fun and entertaining?

Directed by Neal Foster, Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 4 has the answer. They bring historical figures back to life in a hilarious and whimsical way, from Richard the Third, King James I and his very own witch hunt, to Queen Elizabeth I and her terrible dental hygiene.

The teeth extraction scene alone could be a lesson to my three-year-old nephew, who often objects to his teeth being brushed. He might be a little young for the head chopping scene with the Georgian detectives.

The play is performed by actors Neal Foster (Rex) and Anthony Spargo (Roger). They manage to move between characters with on-stage costume changes in a natural and seamless way that does not interfere with the performance.

Horrible Histories began as a Terry Deary’s book series in 1993 with The Terrible Tudors and The Awful Egyptians, then the very successful TV series and eventually graduating to stage shows.

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The performance had a pantomime type feel, with the children in the audience enthusiastically responding to the interactive parts of the play.

There are plenty of fart jokes throughout which received a lot of laughter from the children in the audience. I did find it rather entertaining how they explained the sewerage system back in the day with the night soil men.

There is nothing more “barmy” in Britain than where we are at today. That is what we are told at the opening of the play. There are references throughout the performance to Brexit, Boris Johnson and Theresa May. 

The 70-minute performance was truly entertaining and humorous with fantastic performances by Neal Foster (Rex) and Anthony Spargo (Roger). the show did not disappoint. What a fabulous and quirky way to take us through British history, be-it a simplified version.