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REVIEW: 'Brilliantly Barmy' show at the Floral Pavilion
Updated 2:14pm Thursday 3rd April 2014 in News
I WISH we had shows like this when I was at school, writes Peter Grant.
We were often taken by coach to the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool to hear an orchestra in action.
At that age we were, frankly bored.
In later life I now value those experiences - but that was then and this is now.
If only history lessons could have been like this exceptional Birmingham Stage Company touring production.
It is, literally, outstanding.
Written by the inspirational Terry Deary and director Neal Foster, this award-winning crew deserve full houses.
Horrible Histories on telly is a revelation - a fantastic form of story telling.
I came away thinking "I never knew that".
Designer Jacqueline Trousdale is a very gifted operator - bringing to life stories that are often buried in dusty tomes.
Using parodies of TV shows such as The Only Way Is Essex and Take Me Out, this talented team clicks with the audience brought up on reality and quiz shows.
The puppetry, props and costumes are first class.
Dance routines and ad libbing are equally inventive.
This two-hour show is, without doubt, one of the best pieces of children's theatre I have ever seen.
But it works on so many levels. Vaudeville, Panto, stand up comedy - it's all here.
A backdrop projection screen is used to maximum effect as you are given 3D glasses to enjoy some marvellous visuals.
I was a kid again.
I ducked away from some magnificent special effects as they headed towards me.
Bats, birds and all manner of objects hurtled towards me and the audience - many of whom shrieked with sheer delight.
The energy and skill of the Fab Four on stage referring to New Brighton and Wirral Borough Council traffic wardens added to the charm of this package.
They had done their research - as Birkenhead got a warm name-check.
The four strong cast of Alison Fitzjohn, Benedict Martin, Laura Dalgleish and Gary Wilson play a multitude of characters from Henry VIII to our Queens - Elizabeth I and Victoria.
Sing-a-long songs about the black plague and very funny audience participation moments added jokes and joy to the fact-filled proceedings from start to finish.
A beautiful, poignant 3D look at World War 1 nearly had me in tears , too, as poppies floated down before my very eyes.
Parents clearly love it, teachers as well , but it is the kids who know that they are being treated. like adults when history is made as enjoyable and sparkling as this.
10 out of 10
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