I have always enjoyed learning about history despite having the most insipid history texts and tests ever. I wish we had Horrible Histories growing up. Learning history would have been so much fun. I am glad Horrible Histories are around now. Bet my son enjoys learning history way more than I ever did.
Come to think of it, I am enjoying learning history now way more than I ever did. And a lot of it is thanks to Horrible Histories. We have enjoyed the TV shows and exhibitions. So when the opportunity to watch Horrible Histories live on stage presented itself, I was super excited.
Off we went to The Lowry for the second time that week, to watch The Birmingham Stage Company and Derby Theatre perform Horrible Christmas.
The story is every child’s worst nightmare. Christmas is under threat of being cancelled forever. Bad Santa Sydney Claus, played to villainous perfection by the talented Chris Gunter, will go to any lengths to destroy Christmas. He is assisted by his goofy sidekick, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, played by Ashley Bowden. The pair travels through time to Victorian, Puritan, Tudor and Medieval eras in their evil plot to ruin Christmas.
It falls to the clever Shirley Holmes (Lauryn Redding) and daring little Wendy Watson (Rebecca Livermore) to try and foil their evil plans and save Christmas. We join them as they journey on a time mission to meet Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, Henry VIII and St. Nicholas. We are treated to foot-tapping music, tongue in cheek references to modern day events and lots of bottom-related jokes along the way. I particularly enjoyed the rap routine by King Charles II, played by Neal Foster and the Harry Potter references by Dickens’ housekeeper played by Laura Dalgleish. And J quotes the ‘penguin poo’ line to me every day.
There is a panto feel to the production with lots of audience involvement. Henry VIII’s Christmas feast song featuring roast birds of varying sizes had the audience competing for vocal honours. And the evil Sydney Claus was booed every time he appeared on stage.
I learnt a few historical truths that I didn’t know before. And my son has been asking questions that have most certainly been prompted by Horrible Christmas.
So if you are looking for more than just your average panto, I recommend you head to The Lowry to watch Horrible Christmas. It is fantastic entertainment if you are four or older.
Disclosure: We were invited to watch the press show of Horrible Christmas at the Lowry. All opinions are my own. All photos courtesy The Lowry.