Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain - Part Two

Theatre , Children's
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(7 user reviews)
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© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

© Jane Hobson

Lauryn Redding, Anthony Spargo

I’m not totally sure how much the average six-year-old is going to appreciate the cheeky trashing of overrated Frenchman Richard the Lionheart that takes place early in this latest stage outing for Terry Deary’s ‘Horrible Histories’ franchise – but I sure as heck enjoyed it.

Likewise, I chuckled heartily at a closing sequence in which performers Lauryn Redding and Anthony Spargo cheerily sing about how lame Cameron and Clegg are compared to the fearsome rulers of Britain’s past, but I’m not convinced the kids around me really got it.

They were more into the sequence in which the Black Death was skimmed over via a call and response song about farting, which is, you know, fair enough, really, they're primary school kids.

I couldn’t quite tell whether ‘Horrible Histories’ intends to offer something for everyone or if show writers Deary and Neal Foster just can’t decide whether they want to serve up scatological LOLz or actually offer a genuinely sly alternative to classroom orthodoxy.

But I’m happy to give Foster’s production the benefit of the doubt: it’s staged with far more wit, love and wry post-modern humour than most of these franchise tie-in children’s shows (even if it does fairly nick a couple of ‘Monty Python’ gags) and Redding and Spargo work their socks off – the empire may have declined, but the energy levels never do.

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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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that looked exhausting for the two of them but it was jolly funny and my 5 year old really enjoyed it. He was quite upset when it ended. I was with the performers, that was a lot to do in that space of time. The highlight was definately 'vicky with an V and Albert with an A' at the end. Genius.


an inventive and energetic romp through history....the kids loved it (mixed ages of 11, 10 and 6) and despite only being able to get tickets in the last row right at the top of the theatre we were able to see everything. My only criticism would be that there could have been a bit more going on.....with only two (very energetic and entertaining actors), at times the production felt a little sparse. With a few more people on stage occasionally and a bit more scene changing rather than just props and costumes on the stage, the feel of each of the periods covered could have been brought more alive.


My Son and I (aged9) really enjoyed the show,the two actors were great and we learnt a fair few new facts about our history. My favourite part was the Queen Vic rap but my Son 's was Queen Elizabeth 1 going under cover. Overall , cleverly done and worth a visit.


Everyone's reaction was the same as they arrived in our part of the theatre - "I can't see the stage". We had booked the Grand Circle thinking that our view would match the title of our tickets. We were sadly wrong. There were parts of the show that we couldn't see at all. My children are not small and could angle themselves to see bits of the action but the younger smaller audience struggled to see anything. Not to take away from the two talented actors on stage - they were passionate, energetic and carried us through. I think I would advertise the show as being for the under 10s, as it was more like a pantomime than a walk through history. It was only an hour long so not soo bad and we had a few laughs about it afterwards but I won't be hurrying back for part 3.

Joanne Dorian

This was an absolutely brilliant show! As parents, we learned too many things that we should have already known and the kids (7 & 6) lapped it all up and laughed for 60 minutes. How the 2 actors keep the pace up for the full hour, I have no idea! We saw a high profile, kid friendly west end show in the afternoon that cost a fortune - but the kids preferred Horrible Histories. Speaks volumes about the fantastic show and the 2 actors in it.


Great performance and pitched perfectly for both adults and children. Am ashamed at how much I learned and my nine year old thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially the song about the Black Plague which she insists on singing non-stop - Thanks for that!

Alistair Martin

Blown away by Boudica and chuckling at Charlie, singing our way through the ages. Seven, nine and seventy nine we all laughed out loud, sang the songs and talked history all the way home.