No-one has such a thirst for blood, gore and horror as innocent little children. Just add in a gruesome death or some slithering, slimy creatures and the little buggers can sit through just about anything. Well… at least that’s the fun and practical philosophy behind Horrible Histories, a stage show created to interest kids in the past by leaving in all the dreadful bits.
Horrible Histories actually began as a massively popular children’s book series, written by Terry Deary for – what else? – revenge against his deathly boring history teachers in primary school. The appeal of the weird and the macabre proved irresistible to young readers, making it Britain’s most borrowed children’s nonfiction series in 2001 and Deary the world’s most popular children’s nonfiction author.
Now, as many parents know, not all kids are keen on reading. So the natural next step was Horrible Histories’ translation to the telly and stage. Now the act is coming to Hong Kong in its latest incarnation, Awful Egyptians, which (like the name suggests) focuses on our North African pharaonic forefathers, with an extra emphasis on the ‘foul facts of death and decay’. They’ll answer burning questions like: why does everyone love Tutankhamun? What’s inside a mummy suit? And why did the Egyptians worship the dung beetle?
The massive success of the franchise can be chalked up to three simple tenets: it’s horrible, it’s funny and it’s true. Audiences should expect a fairly hilarious Pythonesque show (one Horrible Histories sketch re-imagined Charles II as Eminem) with history and wit. The show might be so evocative that it will conjure the literal stink of putrid flesh! But one thing’s for sure − the kids will love it.
Horrible Histories runs at the HKAPA from Friday March 30 to Sunday April 1. For tickets: hkticketing.com