“ Genre: Children „
We stumbled upon The Birmingham Stage Company's production of Horrible Science following a disastrous failed visit to Blackpool Tower.
On Passing The Grand Theatre in Blackpool town centre, I noticed the show was playing that afternoon and went inside to enquire.
I was advised that seats for the matinee were limited but we could have seats in the circle on second row for the 7pm performance.
Three tickets sold! My six year old son wasn't too happy, there was 'no way' he was going to the theatre, what with it being 'SO BORING'. I appeased him with the promise of popcorn :-)
The doors opened at 6.30pm and we took our seats rather hurriedly at 6.55pm (trouble parking!). The audience comprised of children of all ages, accompanied by their parents. We were told when booking that the show was suitable for children aged 5/6 upwards.
There was already some activity on the stage, a large tv screen swinging back and forth and eyeballs and aliens popping up on another screen behind that.
The lights went down at 7pm and the show began on time.
The Horrible Science stage show is based upon a series of 'Horrible' books created by Nick Arnold and Tony De Saulles. There are approximately 28 in the collection and this is continually increasing. My son has not read any of the books so I am unable to compare content to the stage show. He does however have a Horrible Science Blood Bones & Body Bits Kit which is pretty squidgy and horrible, so I had an idea as to what to expect!
The show tells the story of Billy Miller a young boy (played by adult Gareth Warren) entering the theme park world of Horrible Science. Unfortunately, his fun day out turns sour when he asks too many questions of the resident scientists.
They believe they are too important to spend time explaining how and why things work in the way they do, protecting their knowledge as they are members of an exclusive club.
Enter TIM, the intelligent machine (voice of Neal Foster). The machine controls the world of horrible science under human instruction, however he becomes very angry and decides to take full control. He tells Billy Miller that if he does not reveal and understand certain basic principles of science he will unleash all the horrors of science, destroying the world!
He can, in his quest call upon the assistance of the three scientists who had initially refused to answer his questions.
Can Billy persuade Professor N Large (Benedict Martin), Professor Buzzoff (Laura Dagleish) and Professor Wanda Wye (Sarah Nightingale) to help him?
Over the next hour we follow Billy as he fights and sings his way through battles with over sized bacteria, struggles to create an electrical circuit and even meets Frankensteins monster! My son was mesmerized, and as an adult viewer I tended to forget that this was an educational musical!
As the interval approached, the cast warned us that in order to help Billy we must seek out bogglevision glasses in the break.
The lights went up and my son had rushed off to start the search before I had managed to stand up!
He returned a short time later with the bogglevision glasses (found in a bin liner at the back of the theatre!).
For the next 15 minutes we sat wearing our glasses looking like three unconvincing Buddy Holly's! Fortunately the lights dimmed and the show resumed. The second half was much more exciting, the kids loved it whilst most adults squirmed as pieces of poo left the stage and danced in front of their eyes and wee almost splashed their faces - all in 3D Boggglevision of course!
There was much more audience participation in the second half, the children (and adults) shouting out answers to questions and singing along to the theme tune 'horrible Science, horrible science, horrible science is coming alive - it's coming alive, it's coming alive, horrible science is coming alive'!
It may sound innocent enough but believe me, it's in your head for weeks afterwards!
I can not recommend this show enough, it is completely engaging, at some points the children are literally on the edge of their seats. Having said that, it isn't scary, it's yukky in a fun way. Whilst my son was roaring with laughter, I was smirking and giggling, thinking 'Should I be laughing at this'?! (Go on - laugh!)
I won't spoil the story by revealing if Billy saves the world - take your children to discover for themselves!
The show is great for inquisitive minds, my son can now tell me all about electrical circuits and is still singing the song - aggh!! The theatre is no longer 'So boring' 'it's BRILLIANT'.
A family ticket (two adults and one child) cost £24. Well worth the money, I look forward to future 'Horrible' productions in the future.