Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Review

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Review

Horrible Histories is pure brilliance – the way that humour and learning come together is a win for kids and for parents too.

We love the books in our house – with the gruesome facts and funny comic strips.

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We love the TV sketch show – with catchy tunes and recurring characters. Anyone else’s kids love singing the “stupid deaths” song?!

But there’s something about live theatre that is unbeatable.

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain is a live show incorporating everything that is brilliant about Horrible Histories, and it’s touring the UK now.

There’s rude humour, gory facts, catchy songs and brilliant acting.

The 2-man cast did an incredible job of educating and entertaining a theatre full of children and their adults at the Gala Theatre in Durham – and my kids and I got the pleasure of being part of the audience.

Like a pantomime; singing, dancing and audience participation are all encouraged in this play. The cast stayed on the stage throughout (just over an hour), and performed tons of costume changes, sketches, songs and dances while covering some unbelievable facts from British history.

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Review
Barmy Britain Live on Stage 2023 by Birmingham Stage Company. Cast: Ian Archdeacon (until 31 Aug) Alasdair Buchan Neal Foster (from 3 Sep onwards) Writer & Director – Neal Foster Set & Costume Designer – Jacqueline Trousdale Lighting Designer – Jason Taylor Composer – Matthew Scott Sound Designer – Nick Sagar Choreographer – Kenn Oldfield Production Manager – Adrian Littlejohns

Did you know that several British Queen’s had strange admirers who broke into their bedrooms to meet them? Or that Scotland purchased a section of jungle in Panama to try and build an empire? Or that a witch was imprisoned during WW2?! Me neither. But it was great fun finding out.

When I was a child, Terry Deary, the author and creator of the Horrible Histories books, did a live performance at my local theatre. He played the guitar, sang silly songs and cracked jokes about the history of my town. It was brilliant, it was memorable – and it was the beginnings of Horrible Histories being on the stage.

I loved being able to enjoy Horrible Histories live on stage again with my kids – their giggles next to mine are what childhood theatre trips are all about. And I’ll be honest, anything that gets my kids loving history will always get a 5-star rating from me.

Check out tour locations near you for upcoming shows.


Prices vary according to location.

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Cathy who is married to Scott and has three lively little'uns. Aged 9, 7 and 5.

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