View Comments
Horrible Histories: Awful Egyptians cast. Picture: Nic Ellis

The kids who love Horrible Histories embrace its irreverence and its focus on bodily functions.

Parents who love it see it as the cultural equivalent of sneaking bran into muffins and hope that just some of the historical goodness will seep in with the scatological jokes.

But not all parents do love Horrible Histories. I've spoken to several who are appalled by the body count in each TV episode and are not convinced that any of the intellectual "bran" is being digested.

If you are irritated by the gratuitous gore on the TV show, you will likely be repulsed by the stage show. It is bloody, silly and scary. Why wasn't history this hysterical when I was a kid?

The Horrible Histories franchise started with books by Terry Deary and cartoonist Martin Brown and extended to the stage and small screen.

This stage show dwells in the world of the Ancient Egyptians and takes the audience through their customs and beliefs, their gods and kings.

Using archaeologist guide Horatio Storey (played by Adam Murphy), Pharaoh Ramses II (Justin Stewart Cotta), Storey's curious assistant Bill (Michael Linder) and schoolgirl Maisie (Adele Parkinson), we slip backwards in time.

The play uses musical numbers, swordplay, and a hail of puns to convey the facts and context surrounding Ancient Egypt and Ramses the Great rams home the pharaohs' disconnect from their labouring subjects.

For me, sections of the second half, which detailed beliefs about the afterlife, lasted an eternity but the pace picked up again as the groundbreaking special effects came to life.

My husband, however, felt the afterlife was worth waiting for, and for him the beginning of the show dragged.

Skittish viewers and very young children may find some of the 3D effects terrifying and are advised to avert their eyes from time to time. For others, the comic mummification procedure may be more of a stomach churner.

But if your family can tolerate carnage and dizzying movement, this is a hugely entertaining canter through time, space and the stories of the pharaohs.

This stage show . . . takes the audience through their customs and beliefs, their gods and kings.