Horrible Histories - The Terrible Tudors

Terry Deary
Birmingham Stage Company
Sunderland Empire and touring
(2006)

Once more into the breech! - children had me surrounded with a heavy arsenal of popcorn, crisps and bottles of pop. This is your typical battlefield when going along to enjoy a kid's show. The Birmingham Stage Company's Horrible Histories has hit the North East. Sitting watching The Terrible Tudors I prayed I would not be hit with a child's foot, or get crisps in my ear or pop down the back of my neck. This audience were not in battle mode, however, as they were too busy on the edge of their seats lapping up the fun!

Sunderland born Terry Deary is the man behind the hugely successful Horrible Histories series of books. These popular books that tell well, Horrible Histories, but in the most simple, often gory and fun way possible. He has brought his creation to the stage to entertain and teach kids and adults in the same way.

The cast of four who bring this crazy history lesson to life - Neal Foster, Alison Fitzjohn, Mark Prendergast and Rebecca Ramsden - all slide in and out of many characters with ease. All very OTT and pantomime but perfect to keep the audience focused and learning. While having fun, they taught, sang and danced with great gory humour and confidence.

In the second half of the show the hyped audience weere treated to BoggleVision: upon wearing a pair of 3D glasses you are given a visual treat. The show's scenery comes alive and interactive, provoking gasps, screams and cheers from a packed out crowd.

With The Terrible Tudors and The Vile Victorians (also at the venue this week), The Birmingham Stage Company have something that should make all parents peel their kids away from the TV. Get your children to the theatre to learn in a far more enjoyable way than the talking box can produce! The Terrible Tudors is a hugely entertaining history lesson that no child should miss.

Reviewer: Wayne Miller