5 Mistakes That Changed History

In 5 Mistakes That Changed History, host Paul Coulter establishes the self-evident premise, that this will be something of a comical TED Talk about some fascinating moments that shaped the direction of societal evolution. Coulter is a likeable and confident storyteller and moderate comedian, and it’s clear early on, as he defines the role of historians and shares his amusing childhood trauma, that this show is for people who are interested in history and are up for some comedy, rather than people looking for top comedy and are prepared to hear a bit about history. Well, fine by me.

Near-impossible to walk out without having learned a thing or two, and had a few laughs along the way

This show is a good one to take older children to, as it is entertaining, educational, and all material is appropriate for the inquisitive, regardless of age. Through the meandering journey of over 2000 years of era-defining errors, you can expect to hear about medical breakthroughs, backfiring romantic decisions and the risks of oversleeping. The stories are well-chosen, engagingly written and delivered, and it’s near-impossible to walk out The Crate without having learned a thing or two, and had a few laughs along the way.

One part caused my eyebrows to raise when Coulter gave a detailed explanation of the disputed death of an historical figure, confidently describing as fact something that has never been established; but I’d still trust his credibility enough to rely on his trivia in a quiz. The last ten minutes takes a swerve in a very unpredictable direction, with a fun cameo from the talented and charismtic Joanna Olivera that might split a crowd, but shouldn’t impact your decision to go or not.

In terms of comedy, there are certainly laughs, though most the jokes come from Coulter juxtaposing points on ancient facts with modern references that grow tiresome quite quickly. Don’t let that put you off though, the show is very much what you would expect it to be for the most part and does its job very well.

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Reviews by Victor Black

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The Blurb

We all make mistakes, but rarely do they change the course of history. In this historical-storytelling comedy, historian and comedian, Paul Coulter, tells the funny (and tragic) stories of five people and how their mistakes changed the world. Fresh from sold-out runs at Sydney and Adelaide Fringe Festivals, Paul brings history to life in a hilarious way. If you hated history at school, this is the show for you. If you loved history at school, stop looking and just book the show. Class credit not provided.

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