REVIEW: Fantastic show proves history has a bloody-bright future

The Terrible Tudors by Birmingham Stage Company. PIC: Mark Douet_low r

The Terrible Tudors by Birmingham Stage Company. PIC: Mark Douet_low r - Credit: Mark Douet_low r

History doesn't have to be boring - it can be horribly exciting.

The proof in that gloriously gooey pudding is Horrible Histories which has landed at Norwich's Theatre Royal following more than 25 million books sold and an award-winning TV series to boot.

Forget dusty old text books filled with illustrations - or grainy images - of the bayeux tapestries, Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind, the Great Fire of London, the Black Death or Trench warfare.

No, here the stage becomes a living classroom for a kaleidoscope of over-the-top, colourful comic characters from the past to deliver a grade A masterclass in history at its most gruesome, and grotesque, in the Terrible Tudors.

Simon Nock, Lisa Allen, and Izaak Cainer, excelled as a collection of historical figures including Richard III, Henry Tudor, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and even a fully flossing Henry VIII.

Mary Queen of Scots, also known as Bloody Mary, Elizabeth I of England, Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada also helped lavishly garnish a second half which was enhanced by the wearing of 3D glasses.

They helped ensure that every drop of blood that was spilled following a beheading or battle wound flew across the theatre and into the faces of rows upon rows of excitable school children and their teachers.

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The effects are fabulous and help bring to life, literally, these grim tales from centuries ago.

But despite the dark and deadly content comedy and light runs right through the show which is being staged at the theatre together with the Awful Egyptians.

The Birmingham Stage Company's production is a slick show which has at its heart a passion for educating a new generation of youngsters about our gloriously horrible past.

Shows like this should ensure that history does not just remain a thing of the past.

- Horrible Histories has productions of Terrible Tudors and Awful Egyptians at the Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, May 25. For more details about tickets call the box office on 01603 630000.