Horrible Histories, Terrible Tudors, Belgrade Theatre, until 26 October
3D technology has certainly come a long way since the 1980s, when I lovingly saved a pair of green and red cardboard glasses free with the Radio Times to watch Tomorrow’s World.
That early foray into the screens of the future was doomed to end in disappointment, after my brother snaffled the specs for himself.
If someone had told the six-year-old me that come the next millennium I would be ducking down in a theatre seat as 3D-conjured cannonballs came barrelling out of an onstage screen, I might not have cried so hard that my strawberry Angel Delight tasted salty.
This was the treat (the 3D cannonballs, not the Angel Delight) that lay in store for me and my seven-year-old daughter Ramona at the Belgrade Theatre, courtesy of Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors.
The ingenious use of the 3D effects serve to bring the gory highlights from history to spine-chilling life – at one point Ramona buried her heard in my arm as the beheaded bonce of Mary Queen of Scots turned to a screaming skull before our eyes. But technology aside, the show itself is great family fun, packed full of historical facts punctuated with blood, guts and gore.
Simon Nock dominated the stage with his Donald Trump-esque Henry VIII, swagger and bluster interspersed with pledges to ‘make Britain great’ again. Meanwhile Izaak Cainer’s Shakespeare is reinvented as a Tudor Will-I-Am, promising to make Queen Elizabeth’s (Lisa Allen’s) night ‘a good night’.
If there was a criticism, it would be that the pace is a little too frenetic – some of the detail is missed in the hurry to get to the next joke. But criticising this show feels churlish, especially given the sheer enjoyment of the young crowd, who joined in with the songs and action with ear-splitting gusto.
As soon as we arrived home I was online booking tickets for its sister performance, Awful Egyptians, also showing this week. History has never been so much fun.
Tickets from £12, available from the Box Office on 024 7655 3055.
Photos: Mark Douet