Saturday, November 22, 2014

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain

The Horrible Histories musical comedy theatre show returned to Dubai this weekend with Barmy Britain, a journey through British history. Although it was staged this time in the huge Madinat Theatre, and with more showtime options from which to choose, I nonetheless made a relatively early booking, as the show is immensely popular. I'm not sure how many other adult fans of the TV show were in the audience, as almost everyone else seemed to be accompanying children. Even I was the only one, though, who cares? As a history geek, I could not miss it.

No material from the TV series was used in the hour-long show, as far as I recall from the former, but the two-man cast still had some great sketches scripted and songs composed to bring alive British historical facts and figures, from Boudica to Charles I to Victoria. The HH TV show tradition of contrasting historical contexts with modern culture ad absurdum could be seen in some of the sketches, such as Queen Elizabeth going undercover, and the Dick Turpin story done in the style of a reality TV show. The actors did well for the number of very diverse roles they had to play, pulling quick costume changes between sketches, and delivering a very energetic performance all through.

So while the show was oriented towards a child audience (with a couple of sing-along games and such), I still found most of it engaging at my level, and certainly very educational.

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