Reviewed by Louise Watts
History to kids can often sound boring. Things that happened a long time ago to people that they do not know and situations they cannot imagine. However, it is a huge part of life and learning and it is vital that we as adults find a way to keep our children entertained and interested in how our world has developed over the centuries.
This evening (25 April 2018), I accompanied my daughter, aged 12 years, to The Hawth in Crawley to see Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain. If you have a child of junior school age it would be impossible not to have heard of the Horrible Histories books, songs and shows. They are funny, clever and engaging. This was the first time I had ever seen the stage show so I was very much looking forward to seeing how it is adapted for the theatre.
We arrived at The Hawth to a packed-out auditorium which is always a good sign. There were barely any empty seats and the kids were all excited for the show to start. As soon as the lights went down, the noise went up with the children cheering excitedly.
The show is a two-man cast whose performance as a double act would rival Ant and Dec in the humour stakes! Benedict Martin and Pip Chamberlin had the audience in stitches right from the beginning. As we moved through the different eras in English history, there were numerous jokes with some adult humour thrown in for good measure. My favourite parts had to be Queen Elizabeth with a beard communicating with William Shakespeare; pure genius and Dick Turpin. My daughter was delighted to hear the Charles song and slightly disappointed not to hear the Dick Turpin song (so we listened to it in the car on the way home).
The set was very clever, and it is amazing with a few costume changes that you can follow our country through the ages. Absolutely brilliantly done, it could not be improved on. The costumes were incredible and with a bit of audience participation in the form of a young boy the story was carried out perfectly.
The Hawth is a lovely theatre and you can feel reassured when taking children that there are no bad seats in the theatre, so there is no pressure to have to be at the front. Booster seats are also available for small children so there is no problem if they sit behind an adult. The staff were pleasant and professional and always keen to help. There is a bar where you can buy drinks – alcoholic, soft and hot and snacks. There is also a vending machine with drinks and chocolate. Parking is easy and free in the large on-site car park. I have been coming to The Hawth regularly since I was a child and have never experienced a problem parking.
I would thoroughly recommend Horrible Histories to anyone with school aged children. The running time was around an hour with no interval which was long enough but not too long that the children begin to lose interest. A true family show and if you are lucky the children will not even realise that it is educational as it is so much fun!
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636