Aghast from the past by Kate Sears

If you could squeeze England’s grisly but great history into an hour, make it humorous and interesting and fill it with some of the country’s most colourful historical figures, would you?

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Live Nation and the Birmingham Stage Company have done just that with Horrible Histories: The Best of Barmy Britain. Filled with laughs, quirky characters and quick wit, it’s a horribly funny and slightly twisted version of the history of Britain with the nasty bits left in and will be performed at Frankston Arts Centre on Sunday, September 24, at 11am.

Based on the works of Terry Deary and Neal Foster, Horrible Histories will amaze, appal and delight you as you meet the most famous, infamous and dangerous characters from British history through audience participation.  Songs, facts, funnies and farts will bring the stage alive in this acclaimed West End show.

Frankly Frankston spoke to Robin Hemmings (pictured), who plays Rex and is excited to visit Australia again. Of the play, he says, “It’s ghastly with lots of humour. Really, we’re quite removed from our history, but this is a chance to look back at it with a wink and a nudge.  The show is pretty non-stop; we run around like nutters. It’s a rollercoaster through history. It’s exciting as a performer and an audience member.”

Letting slip some juicy details about the play, Robin told us that the characters are quite insane, yet they all existed. As the show highlights the more horrible side of history, there’s even a skit on the bubonic plague, which highlights how far science has come.

Robin truly relishes his time on stage with Pip Chamberlin, who plays Queenie. “We instantly set up an onstage chemistry, which is perfect for this playful show as we really bounce off each other. We can read each other. It’s like a tennis rally; the electricity is high as balls fly back and forth.”

Henry VIII was Robin’s favourite character to play. He’s a massive historical figure and he got away with so much. However, the show takes the mickey out of him so he’s fun to play. “I got stuck into making him even more absurd.  It is a fun show to perform, but it’s challenging too.”

This introduction to history has garnered great reviews, so it’s an ideal outing for the whole family. The show is aimed at children, but adults can learn (and laugh) a lot as well. You just can’t miss Queen Victoria rapping on stage, so purchase your tickets without delay from (prices $34-$39.20).