What’s On previews Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Two at Madinat Theatre in Dubai, and Paris Universite, Sorbonne, Abu Dhabi.

Mini-film festival
– Music Of Queen
Mamma Mia
– Dubai theatres

Based on the hit books by Terry Deary, Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Two tells the story of 2,000 years of British history. Neal Foster co-writes the show, and plays Dick Turpin. Here, he explains why you should go and check it out.

How much of Barmy Britain is entertainment, and how much is education? It’s all entertainment. We like to think it’s education by accident. Everything you hear is true, and while you’re laughing you’re learning. It’s irreverent, cheeky, rude, disgusting, smelly, scary, fun, and filled with facts.

What’s the storyline involving your character Dick Turpin? Well, the story goes that Dick Turpin was a dashing hero who rode from London to York in a day on his beautiful horse Black Bess. Unfortunately that story was created a hundred years later and the truth was that he started life as a butcher and joined the Essex Gang, which led him into crime. So we’ve set the scene in the reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex and we rob the audience and spray them with water pistols. We also do terrible things to a teddy bear – but it’s too awful to mention here.

What’s your favourite one-liner from the show? There’s a wonderful moment involving a long fart – I’ll say no more.

Which songs are the most popular? The Queen Boudicca song at the beginning is a parody of Queen’s hit song We Will Rock You – except in our version we sing, “She will, she will smash you! But everyone’s favourite song is The Queen Victoria rap at the end of the show.

Does Horrible Histories author Terry Deary have input in the stage show? Yes, Terry writes the show with me. It’s been a wonderful collaboration stretching over ten years. Terry is brilliant at writing for children and never talks down to them.

What do you remember about your history lessons at school? I had three history teachers. Two were brilliant at telling stories of medieval Europe and Ancient Greece and Rome. But the other was the most boring man in Britain. So it’s been wonderful to get excited about British history and wash away the cobwebs from his lessons.

What have you learnt about British history from doing Barmy BritainI’ve certainly discovered we loved fighting. We think we’re in dangerous times now but it’s nothing to the constant wars we endured. Also, I didn’t know where the expression ‘whipping boy’ came from. You couldn’t touch a member of the royal family so if the prince was naughty they whipped his best friend instead and the prince had to watch – he was the ‘whipping boy’.

November 18 to 24
Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat, Dubai, Tue and Wed schools only, Thur 4pm, Fri 11am and 4pm, Sat 2pm and 4pm, Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3666546. Taxi: Souk Madinat. madinattheatre.com

November 24
Paris Universite, Sorbonne, Abu Dhabi, Dhs100. Tel: (050) 8805074. Taxi: Paris Universite. madinattheatre.com