A Barmy look at his­tory

Sit down for a hi­lar­i­ous les­son in his­tory

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - glaiza@7days.ae

His­tory is full of barmy peo­ple, and they make for a great story and laugh. Terry Deary’s best­selling il­lus­trated book se­ries Hor­ri­ble His­to­ries sums that up as the au­thor takes au­di­ence back in time to real, crazy char­ac­ters from the Awe­some Egyp­tians to the Ruth­less Ro­mans. The Birm­ing­ham Stage Com­pany adapted Hor­ri­ble His­to­ries for theatre. The se­ries of shows has been run­ning at Lon­don’s West End for 11 years now, and has been well re­ceived by both young and old. This year, The Best of Barmy Bri­tain pro­duc­tion cel­e­brates its fifth an­niver­sary, mak­ing it the long­est run­ning chil­dren’s show in West End. And it’s com­ing to Mad­i­nat Theatre this Satur­day. Barmy Bri­tain retells the story of the coun­try in a hi­lar­i­ous and ed­u­ca­tional way as told by his­tor­i­cal fig­ures like Boudica, queen of the Bri­tish Celtic Iceni tribe; Guy Fawkes, who took part in the failed Gun­pow­der Plot; Queen Vic­to­ria, the grand­mother of Europe and more. The cre­ator and one of the main stars, Neal Foster (left, dressed as Queen El­iz­a­beth I), says his­tory is any­thing but bor­ing. All it needs is the right sto­ry­teller. “Hor­ri­ble His­to­ries con­cen­trates on the gory, dis­gust­ing, rude, naughty, silly and crazy as­pects of his­tory, so it’s the per­fect way to get peo­ple in­ter­ested in it,” he says. “Terry’s books are per­fect for stage shows be­cause he started out as an ac­tor so he writes in a very the­atri­cal way that lends it­self per­fectly to the stage.” In the show, Neal plays “mean” King

John, “hor­ri­ble” King Henry VIII, “ex­cited” Guy Fawkes and the no­to­ri­ous se­rial killer Wil­liam Burke.

“I think I love play­ing Burke best,” Neal says. “He must have been a very charm­ing man be­cause over twelve months he man­aged to per­suade six­teen peo­ple to stay in his ho­tel and mur­dered them all. Then he sold their bod­ies for money. It’s a shame Tri­pAd­vi­sor wasn’t around in those days.”

Neal says the show is a fun way to in­tro­duce his­tory to chil­dren and to also give adults a new per­spec­tive on things: “We con­cen­trate on find­ing sto­ries that peo­ple think they know, but ac­tu­ally the truth is more in­ter­est­ing and ex­cit­ing.

“A lot of our scenes are created us­ing won­der­ful sound ef­fects that really make you be­lieve you’re see­ing and hear­ing his­tory as it un­folds. We also have fab­u­lous cos­tumes and props, which the au­di­ence love.”

De­signer Jackie Trous­dale is in charge of the clothes. Since the whole show is fo­cused on ac­cu­racy, Neal says Jackie makes sure they are all au­then­tic to the pe­riod.

He adds: “She has a won­der­ful army of mak­ers who cre­ate ex­tra­or­di­nary cos­tumes. The se­cret is that we have to be able to change in un­der 30 sec­onds, so ev­ery­thing is made so it can come off and on in dou­ble quick time. It’s part of the magic of the show.”

Catch The Best of Barmy Bri­tain from Oc­to­ber 8-10 at the Mad­i­nat Theatre in Souk Mad­i­nat Jumeirah. Ticket prices start at Dhs135, and are avail­able at the Mad­i­nat Box Of­fice and Vir­gin Me­ga­s­tore Tick­ets. mad­i­natjumeirah.etix­duba i.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.