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Review BH Horrible Histories 2016

History but not as you know it!
Review BH Horrible Histories 2016

Never in the history of time have so many children, after a long day at school, dragged their parents out at night to attend a history lecture.
But Bristol Hippodrome’s brilliant Horrible Histories saw hundreds of children do just that.
The Greek God Zeus is the guide to gruesome murders, bloody battles, seductive Goddesses, Olympic Games and a murderous Minotaur which were all part of the Groovy Greeks rise and fall which played this week.
Using three-D and special effects the audience was treated to a whistle-stop and white-knuckle tour of the bloodthirsty history and legends of ancient Greece.
Four actors – set up as a family - were roped in on events that seamlessly connected the Trojans with the Simpsons (Marg was a cool Helen of Troy), the Spartans with The Hunger Games and the Hippocratic oath and BBC’s Casualty.
The mind boggled, but believe me, the children's didn't.
The audience loved it when a Big Brother-style get-together saw philosophers, Aristotle, Socrates, Pythagoras and Archimedes in a house discussing a chicken’s life and death.
After the break, with the audience wearing three-D glasses, there was a moment when the flesh-eating Minotaur, described as half-bull and half-man, saw an image of Boris Johnson flashed over the audience. Parents were helpless with laughter.
Later, instead of Britain’s Got Talent, the Groovy Greeks presented The Gods have Talent, with Zeus, Aphrodite, Poseidon and Athena battling it out on stage. Athena – the rapping Goddess of War, won.
The audience drank up the fact that the world’s first play and poem were of Grecian origin and the meaning of ‘democracy’ is ‘people rule’.
And there was one serious moment when the subject of slavery was discussed.
What might have seemed distressing even 2,000 years ago is still happening today with up to 30 million people enslaved and around a quarter of them children.
The brilliant series of Horrible Histories books written by Terry Derby have brought history alive for millions of children (and their parents).
While some may say skimming history for just the gory and humorous is superficial; the theatrical play on the books is an amazing feat which bring the ancient past to contemporaneous life and I’m sure after children and their parents will be more willing to delve deeper.
It was a fun night out and the best family-friendly history lesson ever.

​Melanie Greenwood

​It was such fun and even if you knew it wasn't for real having a spear thrown at you or a scary spider dangling in front of your 3D glasses still made you jump up and scream - every time.
The Groovy Greeks were great - we were amazed that four actors who arrived on stage pretending to have lost their way in the stalls were able to hold our complete attention with just a few props and projected images.
Best bits for us was the monster in the labyrinth and although you shouldn't we did laugh when the king killed himself because his stupid son got in a muddle with his black and while sails.
The multi-roles were distinguished by exaggerated arm gestures and quick costume changes often on stage.
It was so good to see the theatre full of young people enjoying themselves and thoroughly engrossed.
We learned the meaning of democracy and that the Romans and Greeks had the same Gods with different names and our grandchildren aged eight and 12 thought it was the best theatre they had seen.
Cianna said afterwards: "I love the Hippodrome."
Brooke said: "It was fantastic, the people on stage were really good (and bad)."

Carol Deacon

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