Horrible Histories

Norwich Theatre Royal

Norwich Theatre Royal

You really can't knock Horrible Histories. Since their launch in 1993, author Terry Deary has enthralled children with his gruesome tales, while at the same time (hopefully) instilling a love of history.

As books, their strength lies in lacing historical facts with enough gore to hook young readers; it is a winning formula, and one from which this enjoyable show does not stray.

Last night it was the turn of the terrible Tudors, and as the despicable Dr Dee, up to Benedict Martin to guide us through the more macabre exploits of Henry, Elizabeth and Co.

With the support of Drab (Timothy Speyer) and Dross (Alison Fitzjohn), plus the fastidious Mr Tree (an accomplished performance by understudy Philip Lawrence), we were treated to the Princes in the Tower, the Battle of Bosworth and the Spanish Armada.

Displaying the effective use of simple props with sound effects, (the squelchy withdrawal of a sword from Richard III was particularly splendid) the show really came alive with the cast's strong, boisterous performances.

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The performances were uniformly excellent, but special mention should be made of Martin, whose characterisation of Henry VIII by way of Leslie Phillips, ('Anne Boleyn, Ding Dong') was one of the show's many examples of humour.

Explosions flashed as the Armada was dispatched, and by the close the audience was almost as breathless as the Spanish sailors.

In town until Saturday, February 18, the Birmingham Stage Company will also be performing Vile Victorians: don't miss it.

t Further information from the box office on 01603 630000, or www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk