Incredible Invaders – Horrible Histories

Reviewer's Rating

A thousand years journey

Part of the two new shows put together by the Horrible Histories team, Incredible Invaders is, as the books it is based on and the BBC TV series it has inspired, a perfect mix of bringing life and fun to historical events and people!

The play achieves this by presenting a perfect balance between dialogue and songs performed with great gusto by fantastic actors, as well as between information and humour. With regular interactive sequences, the actors gently facilitate audience participation too, culminating in a recapitulative and joyful sing-along. The show also makes a clever use of a wide range of sound effects and 3-D backgrounds, such as interactive maps, which are, be re-assured, never boring.

Incredible Invaders reveals (with astonishing revelations!) the history of Britain through its invasions, from the Ruthless Roman invasion of the British tribes, defended by the Celtic Boudicca, and resisted by the Scots; the Savage Saxons, who smashed their way in and eventually took charge; the Vicious Vikings, who literally sail into the audience with the use of 3-D technology; to finally William the Conqueror at the famous Hastings Battle of 1066.

The show also looks at the way people used to live, looking at everyday life and urban planning. For instance, a Roman road, the Adrian Wall and Sutton Hoo are built on stage, thus also telling the audience about the Roman and Saxon cultural legacy.

History is brought to the 21st century through the technology used in the play, but also with references to very popular TV shows: Grand Designs, The Great British Bake-Off, Who wants to be a Millionaire?, Come dine with me (with Saxon dinner and beer), and Bob the Builder.

The play really is a game of two halves, as its second part makes a much greater use of scary 3-D effects, maybe at the expense of information, but the audience (both adults and children) remained thrilled and engaged until the very end, joining happily in the sing-along and the ultimate message about the very diverse origins of the British people.