Theatre Review: Horrible Histories: Awful Egyptians

Theatre Review: Horrible Histories: Awful Egyptians

This staging of the UK TV series presents facts about lesser known (usually gory) aspects of history to the young in zany, child-safe Monty Pythonesque style.


Horrible Histories: Awful Egyptians
Presented by Andrew Kay and The Birmingham Stage Company
Reviewed 11 April 2014

If only being educated was as much fun back in this reviewer’s school days as it can be nowadays. Let’s cut through the swaddling and get to the bare sawdust of the matter: Horrible Histories: Awful Egyptians is horribly hysterical and awfully awesome!

This is a stage production based on the highly successful British television series Horrible Histories that ran from 2009 til 2013, which in turn was based on an equally successful and popular series of books for young people by Terry Deary. The concept of all three medium is to present the facts about lesser known (usually gory) aspects of history to the young – the stage show being aimed towards six to twelve year olds – in the form of zany, child-safe Monty Pythonesque style humour. What child doesn’t like grossness and, with their practice of mummification, the Egyptians are the perfect subject matter.

Director Phil Clark delivers a very clever and extremely funny show starting immediately by having the Eye of Horus follow the audience as they take their seats. The appearance of this, coupled with the rest of Jackie Trousdale’s Egyptian-themed set and the wonderful and often amusing animations by Amazing Interactives, promises so much more to come – and it delivers! Jason Taylor’s lighting, Nick Sagar’s sound and Matthew Scott’s music all add to the feel and cleverness, not to mention Act Two being entirely in glorious 3D (‘boggle goggles’ supplied at interval).

The cast of four is fantastic: Adam Murphy, Michael Lindner, Justin Cotta and the highly energetic, bubbly Adele Parkinson. These extremely talented performers know just how to work an audience of children and adults alike – not an easy task. Their timing in working with special effects, movement and choreography, and comedy is spot-on (the sound operator must also be congratulated here for managing brilliantly to keep up with them), and their various characterisations are sublimely hilarious.

At the opening performance the kids loved it, the adults loved it and this reviewer loved it – what more can one say?

For fans of the books and TV series, this show is a ‘must see’: for anyone loving history, this show is a ‘must see’: for anyone just wanting a great laugh and a fun time, this show is a ‘must see’.

Just grab your mummies (and daddies) and run, don’t walk, like an Egyptian down to the Dunstan Playhouse for Horrible Histories: Awful Egyptians.

Reviewed by Brian Godfrey

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Season: 11 – 15 April 2014
Duration: 2 hours including interval
Tickets: $49.00(family ticket) – $59.00
Bookings: Book through Adelaide Festival Centre online


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