Entertainment Hive 2017

History comes to life

By Honey B

History is set to come to life in the live stage version of Horrible Histories: Awful Egyptians these school holidays. The UK production was inspired by Terry Dean's cult children's books of the same name. From the fascinating Pharaohs to the power of the pyramids, discover the foul facts of death and decay with the meanest mummies in Egypt. Are you ready to rumble with Ramses the Great? Dare you enter through the Gates of the Afterlife? Adele Parkinson plays Amazing Maisie who escapes from a boring museum guide job to go on a fabulous adventure. Here she explains why Horrible Histories appeals to boys and girls, young and old and why history is so cool. My eight year old loves to watch Horrible Histories on television, but he hasn't read the books yet - how has it grown to be this cult hit which has spawned a live show? It's history in a format that kids can engage with. What the books, TV show and stage production have in common is that they bring these characters from history to life and recount their horrible life stories in the funniest way Do more kids watch the show or read the books - or does one lead to another? I haven't done a survey, though we see a lot of kids sitting in the audience with their Horrible Histories book collection in their lap. We love the hardcore fans. Tell us about this show - we're off to Egypt... ... where we travel back to the time of  Ramesses The Great to explore the history  of the pyramids, learn step by step how to make your own mummy and act out all the gory  and gruesome details of what was accepted practice in Ancient Egypt!  What's your role in the show? I play Amazing Maisie, who  escapes  from her boring Museum Guide to find Storey and Bill hiding in a secret room.  Together, they go on an adventure to experience Egypt's awful  history first hand! Are there a lot of death, blood, fart jokes? In  true Horrible Histories style, the narrative is  frequently  interrupted  by fart and  poo  jokes. Nothing  is taken too seriously. In truth, the  history of Egypt is absolutely horrible, but extended death sequences and dancing hieroglyphs help to  keep the show  fun and  our audience entertained. How do you get the important historical facts through so that children remember them? The show is designed to be very  engaging so  we're  telling  the stories from history by  singing  songs and  acting  out the  scenes. The three explorers represent the audience, and each have their own opinions and perspectives on what is being shared. Throughout the show, the Bogglevision  screens bring the scenes to life. Tell us more about the Bogglevision. The Bogglevision screens are what complete the Horrible Histories experience, setting it apart from any other live show. In the second part of the performance, our audience is given a pair of glasses which help create the illusion that figures on the screens are emerging in to the audience! Don't ask me how it works - I think it's actually magic! Do you think that this show appeals to girls and boys - it can be hard finding a good boys show! It definitely appeals to both genders. I'd say that the boys love the blood and guts of Horrible Histories and the girls love experiencing this show through my character, Maisie. As for the fart jokes... they're a hit with both boys and girls, young and old! How wonderful is it to watch the children's reactions and the parents too? Very! We perform this show multiple times in a week and, if it weren't for the audience going on the journey with us each time, any sane person would question the meaning of it. However, when you're performing before a few hundred beaming faces, it become more of a question of why we don't see more of this type of theatre in Australia. It's a very memorable experience for the kids and a rewarding experience for us on stage every performance. Do you think humour helps kids, and adults, to learn more or want to go on and learn more. I believe it's been called "edutainment''? Absolutely! I think education through live entertainment is a hugely effective way to engage children and, yes, adults too! Particularly with Horrible Histories, we're capturing the imagination of our audience and therefore sparking their curiosity. The intention is that, by leading them on this adventure to another land and time, they will be inspired to take the initiative themselves to learn more about history for no other reason than it interests them! Do you have a favourite scene or song or joke in the show - tell us and why do you like it? One of my favourite moments in the show is watching Adam Murphy who plays Storey the historical expert die in a very exaggerated way over an extended period of time. Every show he does this a little differently and I find myself trying hard not to laugh! It's a lot of fun.  Horrible Histories Awful Egyptians, Adelaide Festival Centre, Dunstan Playhouse, April 11 to April 12. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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