Review: Horrible Histories Groovy Greeks at Mayflower Theatre Southampton

As a family, we were used to seeing Horrible Histories on TV, with their gruesome goings on and humorous sketches being played out, and we were curious to see how the show would translate on a stage.

The performance, while made up of various sketches, actually followed a single storyline as four actors worked their way through the history of the Greeks.

As the story unfolded, we were taken back to important events which were given a modern and humorous spin. For instance, the first event depicted the war against the Trojans while paying homage to the first ever Greek poet ‘Homer’. This led to an obvious reference to Homer Simpson – which then led to the entire portrayal of the war against the Trojans being played out as a scene from the Simpsons and also gave way to some brilliant impressions! This whole feat of combining historical fact with the comedy of the Simpsons gave the audience a connection with what was going on, while making it all the more amusing to watch.

Apart from the costumes, which were slickly changed, there were very few props involved. The performance was enhanced by a digitally projected backdrop.

Following an interval, the 3D element began and we were asked to put on our 3D glasses to enter the labyrinth of the Minotaur. As we were guided through in 3D, various objects and creatures jumped out, ending with a fight with the Minotaur itself.

Throughout the second act, the 3D glasses were put to good use and while never going to be able to compete with the blockbusters, the 3D effect that we are all used to in cinemas was used well and complimented the live acting. It gave the production something different to a normal show and unlike some films, wasn’t just being used to ‘wow’ the audience in order to cover up a lack of storyline or limited acting.

Of course, the running theme through it all was learning about the ancient Greeks, what they did, what they believed in and what we in the modern world got from their civilization. However, as anyone who has read the books or seen the TV series will know, it’s all done in a fun and memorable (and sometimes slightly grotesque) way which will leave you talking about it to others well after the performance ends!

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