The Greatest Stories Never Told

Setting the evening’s tone from the outset, the audience take their seats while the actors prep onstage, cycling through an exaggerated array of warmup exercises that any performer will know all too well. This immediately brings attention to the meta style that fills the performance.

This production is very much Horrible Histories on the stage and captures the same fun and mayhem that you can expect from something of this genre.

The Greatest Stories Never Told is predominantly a sketch show, taking untold facts from history that are 'all true and relatively well researched' and re-enacting them with theatricality and comedy. Sound familiar?

This production is very much Horrible Histories on the stage and captures the same fun and mayhem that you can expect from something of this genre. Diving into the past of Romans, the Renaissance and Soviet Russia (to name a few), with historical characters being warped with modern personalities and a melodramatic, self-aware style of acting, this has everything you could want from a production that aims to make you laugh.

Costume changes are simple but representational and don't bring the performance down, keeping the focus on the performers. The combination of historical events with modernised dialogue allows for a lot of comic potential that delivers - most of the time.

Some of the sketches do feel a little too long, with little purpose, while there are some nods to the audience that feel a little worn out. But these are only passing criticisms. The major issue that needs to be addressed is the transitioning between scenes.

This improves gradually over time, but a more refined approach to dealing with the changes would keep the performance going rather than leaving the audience sitting in the dark in silence as the actors reset for the next part. Having already established their self-aware nature (that they are actors on a stage), starting the dialogue while the changes were being made in full light would abide by their own rules and keep the pace moving.

The space suits them perfectly. Anything grander and more majestic would undermine the whole point of this piece which is to entertain and have fun. This is not a West End piece of theatre but, on its own merits, it is a fantastic piece of work. They meet the criteria that they set for themselves and never try to be something they’re not; perhaps more importantly, they are comfortable with what they are. Regardless of your age, this appeals to all and is a wonderful piece of entertaining theatre.

Reviews by James Moore

Upstage Centre Youth Theatre

Henry V

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

The Greatest Stories Never Told

★★★★
Paradise in Augustines

A Matter of Life and Debt

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

The Rules: Sex, Lies and Serial Killers

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

No Strings

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★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The Heretical Historians present a series of short comedies based on the bizarre, true stories that history forgot: The Pope who censored the Vatican statues; the ministers who drank to better their government; Julius Caesar’s adventure with his pirate friends; Lenin’s desperate (disguised) dash on the eve of the revolution and the British attempt to control India’s cobras. A riotous evening of laughter and history as you’ve never known it. Warning: Probably considered educational by some. We disagree. Separate warning: Contains spectacular snake finish.

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