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The Comedy of Errors

Horrible Histories - Groovy Greeks & Incredible Invaders

6 November 15 words: Bea Udeh
The second-half found me involuntarily emitting blood-curdling squeals

Greek Gods talent show in Horrible Histories - Groovy Greeks & Incredible Invaders

"Oooh, Mavis has stamina!"

That was my thought as this protagonist, played by actress Hannah Boyce, galloped her way onto the stage, which aptly set this show on a cleverly planned course through 1000 years of history in just over ninety minutes.

From the onset, the fourth wall of this Birmingham Stage Company production was broken when Mavis asserted her authority using high-pitched banter. This open call to all of the children, their parents and guardians to join in immediately engaged my two youngsters to test the temperature of the History curriculum and fill me in on a portion of author Terry Deary's creation.

Saxon dining in Horrible Histories - Groovy Greeks & Incredible Invaders

Mavis didn't gallop in on her own. Her companions consisted of an energetic and comedic cast of three: Laura Dalgleish/Boudicca; Ashley Bowden/Alfred the Great and Charlie Buckland/William the Conqueror, who portrayed a vast array of Incredible Invaders covering the Roman, Saxon, Viking and Norman periods. Directed by Neal Foster, the first half was received rather loudly with a barrage of 2D projections which were used to complement a touring set design (Jacqueline Trousdale) which proved efficient, functional and very effective.

Then I screamed.

During the interval, we were all lent a pair of 3D spectacles. I couldn't have foreseen the serious extent of my horror experience as I had previously been impressed with 3D and 4D cinema experiences. The second half found me involuntarily emitting blood-curdling squeals which caused my son to cover his ears – the 3D Bogglevision special visuals were awesome. There was even a young boy crying in shock of how close those horrid, gory, cool historical 3D images seemed when they jumped out at you and seemed to bite your face off.

My companions rated the show a 7 out of 10. Obviously more 3D presentation in the first half would have increased this rating to the extreme upper scale, but everything in moderation. The art of theatre worked well with a couple of broadly delivered social messages and neat panto-like fun.

When accompanying your youngsters to see the performance, make sure you take some throat lozenges.

Horrible Histories - Groovy Greeks & Incredible Invaders plays at Nottingham Theatre Royal from Wednesday 4 to Sunday 8 November 2015.

Nottingham Theatre Royal website

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