Audience Under Arrow Fire In Shrewsbury Theatre

Horrible Histories

Incredible Invaders

Ttheatre Severn

3….6TH February 2016

For the second show of the week with the crew from Horrible Histories, that incredibly captivating TV show, we are met by Britain’s Incredible Invaders.

Faster and pacier than the Groovy Greeks we were taken on a whistlestop tour of the formation of the British Race. All the way from the Celts, The Picts, The Romans, the Icene and the Vikings; to name but a few.

In an hilariously written script we are rushed all over the country on a big map that for now makes up the backdrop. Historically accurate the sketches were fast and funny with great one liners and fun props and costume.

Our Heroine was a young lady who seemed desperate to preserve what she thought was British life. However we soon learned as she did that, the British population is and has always been a conglomeration of invaders and peaceful settlers.

 I think the point was that the indigenous Englishman is way too far back in history to even be acknowledged as we watched our society being influenced and enrichened by the majority of our invaders.

As was mentioned mentioned in the review of the last show ,”Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts And Other Anecdotes,” this is a brilliant way to engage children and almost trick them into learning stuff that never really went in at school due to its arid delivery. The history of our Isles is crucial to who we are and if children do not learn tha; future Britain might well be doomed.

Using a brilliantly created  three dimensional backdrop for the second half of the show we were not only witness to the action but in many ways were right in the middle of it ducking Viking spears and King William’s arrows.

We have an amazing history stretching almost two thousand years full of colour, magic and excitement. Present that to children in acceptable bite size pieces and they rapidly become engaged and receptive. Take a tongue in cheek jibe at grown ups and teachers on the way and you are on to a winner.

Terry Deary’s delightful, “Horrible History,” books transpose so well into this format and as the auditorium emptied out one could hear people humming and singing the lyrics of the incredibly catchy songs that they had just been taught. This reviewer learned that any town in Britain ending in by such as Derby or Corby are Viking in origin just as towns ending with ester are Roman in origin. Fascinating stuff and one could plainly see how engaged, switched on and ready to learn the children were.

The potential of using 3D in such a way in theatre is incredibly exciting. It is a case of cleverly making your audience wear 3D glasses all the way through the second half but complaints came there none as everyone was ducking as the prow of the Viking ship filled the theatre or dodging the amazingly lifelike serpent that hissed as the audience screamed. Great stuff to watch and children learning too.

Although smartboards are widely available through British schools and are capable of great things there can be no price put on the value of what a live theatre  show can achieve.

These two shows this week have not only been a wealth of facts for children to learn but have also been great fun and fully apprcialted by old and young alike.

If as a family you are wondering what to do over this wet weekend grab a ticket for either of these two shows and you will be glad of your investment.

This is a four star review.

Owen J. Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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