Show review: Horrible Histories Live

On Saturday 6th of August a family from London Mums Magazine was invited to the Garrick Theatre to watch Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors.

Horrible Histories Live offers a wide range of educational and entertaining events for children to enjoy and the current production is certain to be enjoyed by its younger members. The Tudor period is a particularly unpleasant era of history and its darker episodes are presented in a style which reaches for panto but, at times, doesn’t make it much beyond holiday camp entertainment standard. The two actors performing never lose their energy, though, and their talents in engaging the audience bring an energy to the performance which is certain to ensure that everyone leaves with a smile on their face.

As an adult, there are moments which delight and moments in which it’s hard not to wince. The Scottish accent initially attributed to Mary Queen of Scots, more accurately converted to the French it would undoubtedly have been, seems to be an unnecessary device to blow the dust of a hackneyed Scots parody and the endless references to Henry VIII’s weight are a jagged reminder that we no longer see body shaming as a humour source but these are small wrinkles in the entertainment. The reference to the ignoble disposition of Richard III’s remains, (“bury him in a Leicester Car Park”) is excellently stretched for comedy effect and the occasional impromptu departures from script, whether or not actual, provide for genuinely warm audience engagement.

The performance perhaps lacks the educational insights offered in the books but there are enough references and mnemonics within the show to ensure that its audience, as the saying goes, may not leave wiser but may do so better informed.

The adults are unlikely to learn anything new and the children are unlikely to remember that which they do but no matter. This is entertainment at its simplest level and everyone is going to enjoy it.

Horrible Histories shows are recommended for ages 5 to 105 (106 year olds may not like them!)


Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0HH

Box Office:  0330 333 4811

Tickets from £16.50

28 July – 2 September

Running time: 70 minutes

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