Thursday 4 May 2017

Preview: The Best of Barmy Britain at Whitley Bay Playhouse

Q&A with 3 very different HORRIBLE queens all played by actress Laura Dalgleish in Horrible Histories: Best of Barmy Britain

Horrible Histories

The Best of Barmy Britain
Whitley Bay Playhouse
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th June 2017

Shows at 2.30 pm & 7 pm

Horrible Histories: Best of Barmy Britain is on tour in 2017. It is a quick canter through 2000 years of British history using only 2 actors who, with just a few props and lots of very quick costume changes, show the audience what a barmy lot we Brits really are!

The two actors play lots of different roles, sometimes even temporarily switching sex to do so! For example, actress Laura Dalgleish starts off as Queen Boudicca fighting the Romans, then she’s a Welsh villager trying to avoid catching the plague. Fast forward a few hundred more years and she’s King Henry Vlll’s second wife, then a TV quizmaster suggesting Guy Fawkes phone a friend. In the 19th century, she’s one half of the murderous duo Burke and Hare, and finally she’s Queen Victoria, showing us her amazing rap moves! Here is a Q&A which Laura has done as some of her different Horrible Histories characters.

Boudicca, the queen of the Iceni Tribe in Britain

Hi Queenie what’s happening in AD 60s Britain where you live?

Well, life is really tough for us Celts! We have to put up with Emperor Nero and all of his disgusting Roman habits which is why I decided to do something about it! Can you believe those pigs totally ignored my husband, the king’s dying wishes! He left half of the kingdom to us, the Iceni tribe, but those arrogant Romans wanted to take it all. The Roman Governor here, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was not happy about our uprising at all I can tell you! I certainly put a spanner in the works for him when I burnt some of his favourite cities – Hah, serve the old cowardly custard right!

What do you like to eat?

Oh, we do like our food! I'd like to say I enjoy a good kebab on a Friday night after slaughtering some Romans but I'm not sure kebabs are around in AD 60! But we hunt for meat and enjoy a good feast on a good bird or two! Sitting around having a feast is one of my favourite past times. We grow our own veg which is a great addition to our diet, not a great addition to the smell from our bottoms though – perhaps I should buy one of those useful Roman poo sticks!  

What do you think about the Romans then?

Oh I love them, they are my best friends! NOT! I hate them and if I was able to kill them all single handily then I would! That arrogant lot need to be taught a lesson and Boudicca is just the woman for the job – after all my name does mean Victory so those miserable Romans had better keep that in mind! But here’s a good joke, what do you call a Roman with a cold? Julius Sneezer – Boom Boom!

Queen Anne Boleyn

Did you really want to marry King Henry Vlll – he didn’t have a great reputation with wives?

He was handsome - though just between you and me his breath smelt like an archer’s armpit! But he was king and gave me lots of nice bling so after playing hard to get for a bit I gritted my teeth and said I’d be his wife as long as he got rid of his boring old first wife Catherine.

But Henry must have loved you he wrote you a song didn’t he – a number one hit would you say?

Naaah, you’re talking about that really dreary old dirge called ‘Greensleeves’ that everyone said was a love song Henry wrote for me. But the truth is it was written in an Italian style and didn’t appear in England till after both Henry and I were long dead - so it is most likely he didn’t write it at all!

What’s the story about your extra finger then?

Well, after Henry chopped my head off some nasty old gossips tried to say I had bewitched him into marrying me and the sign I was really a witch was supposed to be that I had a 6th finger on one of my hands. However, now historians think that was all baloney but no one can deny I was certainly, stylish, intelligent and quick-witted. But unfortunately none of that could save me from the block – of course Henry didn’t care for me by then – he was playing tennis when I went for a quick chop and I don’t mean a hair cut!

Queen Victoria
Your Majesty, could you tell us what Victorian life is like?

*stony face*...No

Perhaps you could say a little about what Victorians like to eat?

Breakfast is a buffet, One does love a good buffet. We have several hot dishes: bacon and eggs, sausages, chops, devilled kidneys and toast, marmalade, porridge, tea and when I’m in Scotland it’s accompanied by the sounds of the bagpipes. I find that aids my digestion wonderfully and no one can tell the difference between a fart and a bagpipe! Clever thinking indeed - I’m not the queen for nothing you know! Lunch consists of several courses, and then there is afternoon tea at about four o'clock with sandwiches, cakes etc. Dinner is later in the evening, about eight o'clock usually, with a great many courses, six or more is my preference. We have soups, meat and fish cooked in all kinds of ways and a variety of desserts my favourites are chocolate profiteroles. No wonder my doctor says I look like a barrel!

You inherited the throne at only 18, did you feel old enough to be Queen?

I could hardly wait for the Lord Chamberlain to finish announcing the news of King William lV’s death. He ended by saying ‘…you are the Queen.’ No sooner had he got the word ‘Queen’ out of his mouth I shot out my hand for him to kiss – so I think I can say I definitely felt ready to rule!  And didn’t I look fit at my coronation! I wore a new Imperial State Crown, with 3093 gems, including the Black Prince's Ruby set at the front plus on top a sapphire taken from Edward the Confessor’s ring. I loves my bling – eat your heart out Jay Z!

We’ve got a good joke - What happened when Queen Victoria burped? She issued a royal pardon! But you never seemed to smile in your pictures, why is that your Maj?

I am smiling on the inside and one is very rarely amused, certainly not since my dear hubby, Prince Albert, died. They say I never smiled again for 40 years after that. Mind you in Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain I still manage some pretty wicked rap moves and head spins – come and see the show at the PLAYHOUSE and check out my dancing!

Finally can we ask where in the UK is your Majesty favourite place?

Well, I’ve always loved the Scottish Highlands best but hear that Whitley Bay is also very nice and am looking forward to checking it out when I tour there this year. But watch out if I take against your town. I was hugely turned off Bath when, during my last visit, some ‘know it all’ in the crowd there shouted out a very personal comment about the shape and size of my ankles – how rude! So you’ve been warned, any more bad behaviour from any of my subjects during my 2017 tour and I’ll be sending you all to the Tower!

Tickets costing £14, £12 conc., £48 Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children) are available now.

Tickets are available from the Box Office open Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10.30am – 2.30pm plus until show start on event days. Tickets can also be purchased on the booking hotline 0844 248 1588* or online at

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