Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain

Barmy Britain is a family stage show which is part of the Horrible Histories franchise. It is co-written by Terry Deary, Neal Foster & Ciaran McConville, directed by Neal Foster, and produced by The Birmingham Stage Company.

The theatre production is staged in three separate shows, Part 1 and Part 2,[1][2] and a Part 3 (released in 2015 due to the success of the first two shows).[3]


Part 1 was written in 2011 following a performance at The Lolibop festival in Regents Park. After receiving high praise at Regents Park the production was developed and opened at the Garrick Theatre London on February 14, 2012. Part 2 followed later opening on September 29 at The Garrick Theatre due to its predecessor's popularity.[4] Part 2 has a running time of 105 minutes.[5]

Director Neal Foster, said: "There’s so much British history to get through. We start with the Celts and end up in the Victorian period....Children love all the gory, naughty, the silly, the rude and disgusting and we make sure it’s full of all that....We bring history to life so it all helps you to understand and put yourself in their position because suddenly it’s very real and it’s there in front of you".[6]


The show is set in London,[7] and "features a finale whose sarcastic references to burger bars, bankers and internet dating leave its young audience in little doubt that whatever the crazed excesses of our ancestors, future generations will doubtless consider us every bit as loopy".[8] The Guardian says it "ends on a serious note as it points out that it's unlikely that those who come after us will think we are any less barmy than we do those who came before".[9] London Evening standard notes "there are clever spoofs of popular television programmes".[10]

Part 2 includes historical characters such as: "Boudicca, Elizabeth I, Burke and Hare, and Queen Victoria".[11]


Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part One

The Daily Express[12] said "Horrible Histories brings the bloody story of Britain throbbingly alive in this hilarious show from the excellent Birmingham Stage Company. Bloody, marvellous stuff!

The Daily Times[13] - "Is this any way for children to learn about history? Too right it is! If lessons were always like this, kids would be queuing up at the school gates every morning. Be Thrilled!

"As gleefully vulgar as a Roman poo stick! It's perfectly horrid and my daughter loved it!" from The Daily Mail.[14]

Whilst Time Out[15] said "Heartily enjoyable and loudly appreciated. Britain seems not so much 'barmy' as barbarous, bloodthirsty and stark raving bonkers."

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part Two was met with similar praise from the press.

The Daily Express[12] returned to say "Hilariously vulgar, brilliantly grisly - it has the young audience in stitches!"

Time Out[15] continued with "A genuinely sly alternative to classroom orthodoxy, staged with wit, love and wry post-modern humour - I sure as heck enjoyed it!"

"A full throttle, side-splitting ride through two thousand years of British history!" from The American Magazine.[16]

Cast members

Barmy Britain One: Lauryn Redding (Original), Benedict Martin (Original), Neal Foster, Alison Fitzjohn, Gary Wilson, Simon Davies, Laura Crowhurst, Anthony Spargo.

Barmy Britain Two: Lauryn Redding (Original), Anthony Spargo (Original), Timothy Speyer, Neal Foster, Alison Fitzjohn

Both productions of Horrible Histories Barmy Britain have been directed by The Birmingham Stage Company Actor/Manager Neal Foster.


  1. Feast Creative. "The Birmingham Stage Company". Birminghamstage.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  2. Feast Creative. "Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain - Part One and Part Two at the Garrick Theatre, London | Also on a UK Tour | presented by The Birmingham Stage Company". Barmy Britain. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  3. http://www.birminghamstage.com/current_productions/barmy_britain_part_three
  4. "Horrible Histories Part 2 Tickets and Dates". See Tickets. 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  5. "Barmy Britain | Blackpool Grand Theatre". Blackpoolgrand.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  6. Post Review. "Horrible Histories - Barmy Britain | Box Office Aberdeen". Aberdeenperformingarts.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  7. "Barmy Britain – live on stage!". Horrible Histories. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  8. Jon Henley (2012-07-14). "Terry Deary: The man behind the Horrible Histories | Books". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  9. Lyn Gardner. "Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain – review | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  10. Fiona Mountford (2012-03-05). "Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain, Garrick - review - Theatre - Going Out - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  11. Thomson, Olivia (2013-11-07). "Win a family mini-break to see Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain - Part Two!". Radio Times. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  12. 1 2 The Daily Express
  13. The Daily Times
  14. the Daily Mail
  15. 1 2 Time Out
  16. The American Magazine
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