Horrible Histories at the Kings Theatre, Southsea REVIEW: ' The child in me was not disappointed'

Growing up, Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories were a firm favourite in my household and a Christmas stocking staple.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 12:05 pm
Lisa Allen, Simon Nock and Izaak Cainer in Terrible Tudors. Picture by Mark Douet

I was intrigued to see how Awful Egyptians and Terrible Tudors would translate onto the stage, and the child in me was not disappointed.

In the morning show, the capable trio of cheeky school boy Milo (Izaak Cainer), his long-suffering teacher Miss Happ (Lisa Allen) and the imperious Rameses the Second (Jamie Sheasby) transported the audience back in time to Ancient Egypt.

Then in the evening Cainer and Allen returned with Neal Foster – the founder of the Birmingham Stage Company which produces the show – to give us a taste of Tudor life.

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The actors took on multiple characters  to bring the different stories alive; grave robbers, pharaohs, gods, embalmers, kings, queens, criminals and executioners were just some of the roles, showcasing the performers’ abilities in characterisation, accent and comic timing.

The fast-paced action was assisted by a projector screen, which became 3D following the interval to great effect.

The mixture of gore and humour in the script was balanced perfectly for the youthful demographic and both shows were dense with factual information without being dry or tedious.

The adult spectators were treated to a few gags too –  Sheasby’s hilariously observed Trump-esque King Zoser was a real highlight and the occasional Brexit comment was thrown in for good measure.

Overall, I would say that the energy was higher and the performance more polished in Awful Egyptians; however I believe this was largely due to the earlier performance benefiting from an audience of eager and excitable primary school groups, while the atmosphere in the evening was a little more sober.

These shows thrive with willing and boisterous spectators, so get along and enjoy them if you can!