We have a little bit of a tradition with the older 2 of going to watch the Horrible Histories stage show every year. We have been going since they were 6 and 7. They are now 12 and 13. You can imagine our excitement when it was finally coming to our home town! You see normally we would travel to Theatre Cymru to see the show. I would make a day of it, getting the younger ones looked after. Once you get to Theatre Cymru you immediately feel the buzz of the show. There are people scattered everywhere, banners and different things to experience and look at. The whole theatre is just filled with an amazing buzz and excitement. The atmosphere is incredible so we don’t mind the fact we have to travel to watch. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw they were coming to my small home town!
One of the things we really enjoy the most about the Horrible Histories shows is the fact they have an interval and when you go back in the second half of the show isn’t just the actors on the stage but they also have 3D alongside it using ‘Boggle Goggles’ It brings an element of excitement to everyone and it’s quite fun watching everyone ducking to avoid objects or jumping when a creature appears.
Our ‘The Place Oakengates Theatre’ Experience
We were all in fantastic spirits, having been before we knew what to expect so as we approached the purple outer of the building we were all incredibly excited. We made our way through the main entrance and were immediately disappointed. The were no banners, no things to pose by for pictures. In fact there was no sign of anything. The food area was completely closed. There was someone stood in a door way so we made our way over to her where without even a smile she took our tickets off us. This was a far cry from what we had been expecting, we at least thought there would be a poster or someone to buy an ice-cream. It was almost as though we were making her day awful just by being there. As we made our way up the little steps on the left hand side there was a small stall where you could buy souvenirs. We checked out the price list and Harry decided he would get the mug and coaster deal. He asked the man and the only cups they had were Terrible Tudors ( we were there for Barmy Britain) and they informed us there were no coasters. Now you have to understand here Oakengates Theatre is a small building so we were expecting a little bit of a smaller experience than we usually get but there was literally no enthusiasm what so ever from the theatre staff. I can honestly say not one person even slightly cracked a smile. I have worked on the stage myself and always had it drummed into me that regardless of the size of the theatre or how many people were there everyone is paying the same money and therefore should get the same experience. This definitely wasn’t the case for us. Despite the theatre being full there was no real sense of excitement or the thrill of a theatre experience.
After we purchased our drinks we headed towards the door to the stalls where there was a man stood there and we may as well have been invisible. It wasn’t until Gareth asked him where we had to go, he half heartedly told us that we were 6 rows from the front and the other side. As we made our way to the seats and settled Harry noticed other people seemed to have popcorn or sweets so asked if he could go with Ellie to see if there was something they could get to eat. We had only given them a very small tea expecting to be able to buy things from the theatre so we let them go and look. A very disappointed Harry and Ellie returned telling us their options were Polos, Tutti Fruitis and Mars Bars.
Determined not to let the disappointment of the theatre staff ruin our family tradition and our experience we sat down excitedly and took a few photographs whilst waiting for the show to begin. The show began and immediately we had the excitement we had experienced at previous shows. The two actors on the stage were amazing as they took us through the history of Britain. We saw the kings and queens throughout the history. The way they changed their costumes all the way through kept everyone both young and old engaged in the show. I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it already but I can say we had great fun interacting with the actors on stage. We joined in the songs and a particular highlight was when they sang a song about Henry VIII’s wives that we had seen in a previous show with the same actions so for them few minutes I saw a glimpse of the same excitement they had when they were younger. We all needed the toilet but decided to wait for the interval to go so that we didn’t miss a second of the fantastic show. The interval never appeared and before we knew it the time had passed and the actors were saying goodnight.
We left feeling a little disappointed that they hadn’t done the 3D second half that we had become used to and had raved about to all of our friends. I had actually mentioned it to a friend as we walked in that it was incredible and surprising, only then to not see the things I was excitedly telling her about. The show itself, the actors and the interaction we amazing and despite the issues with the theatre itself and the lack of the 3D we all had a fantastic time watching the show and I would recommend it to anyone. We will be going again to the next one but we will also be travelling all the way to Wales again so that we can get the full excited experience and buzz you get rather than miserable staff and a half-open theatre.