Beware of Greeks bearing laughs

groovy Greeks

Horrible Histories

Groovy Greeks/ Incredible Invaders

Birmingham Stage Company

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

****

GROOVY Greeks from the well-known children’s scholastic series Horrible Histories was all Greek to me!

Zeus, voiced by writer Terry Deary in top form, challenged the family of theatre latecomers to fight the Minotaur, the Persians and more in a beautifully staged recreation of some of the best-known Greek myths.

Alice (Hannah Boyce), Rob (Ashley Bowden), Mum ( Laura Dalglish) and Dad (Chris Yarnell) worked hard playing all the parts. There are some great ideas and great songs – I particularly liked the one about the four humours.

At ‘half-time’, we were advised to don specs so as not to be recognised by the Minotaur – but they were 3D glasses and the effect was rather scary!

Pummelled by stones, shot at with spears and arrows, scorpions dangled above us, it was a bit too realistic but added immensely to the ‘theatre’ – almost meeting cinema in its attention to detail. Rob’s meeting with Ariadne was lovely – her ball of twine to lead him safely home a ball of red wool that made him sneeze.

If you were not into popular culture some of it wouldn’t have handles. For example, Helen of Troy was Marge Simpson complete with big blue wig and Homer was Paris luring her away from her husband. Aristotle, Pythagoras, Socrates and Sophocles are confined in the Big Brother house and told to cook a chicken (called Dave) with no fire, all great stuff… very clever and very funny.

The Hunger Games described the Spartans’ attitude to child rearing, and Britain’s Got Talent was the scene for the competition of the Gods – Athena’s rap ousted Zeus with predictable consequences.

The audience was about half and half adults and children, and the best reactions seemed to be round about the 8-10 years of age mark. And speaking as one, though I have a History degree, who gleaned a bit of easy history from 1066 and All That – and ‘a good thing’ it was - this new staging of the ‘Horrible Histories’ is great fun and a perfect way to introduce children to the fun (and etiquette) of theatre at the same time as learning a bit about history. To 30-05-15

Jane Howard

26-05-15

Groovy Greeks: Wednesday matinee, Thursday evening and Saturday evening

Incredible Invaders: Wednesday evening, Thursday matinee, Friday evening and Saturday matinee. 

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