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'Brilliant and glorious' car park panto at Duxord Imperial War Museum brings Horrible Histories to life

In what has been one of the most extraordinarily difficult years in generations at least Christmas has been saved, writes Paul Monkhouse.

We can thank the Horrible Histories team for bringing the sparkle back and they’re taking a treat out to all the boys and girls around the country with a drive-in panto style show that stopped in Duxford on Saturday.

Well organised, adhering closely to social distancing and totally interactive, ‘Merry Horrible Christmas’ was a huge amount of fun, done in the usual Horrible Histories educational, but madcap, way.

Horrible Histories Car Park Panto
Horrible Histories Car Park Panto

The facts, jokes and songs came at a breakneck speed as our intrepid hero Watson, accompanied by, of course, Holmes, followed the villainous Sidney Claus and his reindeer sidekick Buster the Blue through time to stop them destroying Christmas.

Through the excellent use of a huge video screen next to the stage, everyone in the Imperial War Museum’s car park was able to see the onstage action, no matter where stationed and the dialogue was broadcast live directly through a designated radio channel.

With some clever props and scenery and costume changes we found ourselves meeting Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, Henry the Eighth and others as we discovered the events that shaped Christmas along the way.

Always family friendly, there were plenty of subtle little moments to delight the adults, including a brilliant throwaway comment for fans of ‘First Dates’, as well as the slapstick and silliness for the younger members of the audience.

With the flashing of headlights and the honking of horns from the start, this truly was an event that everyone could join in with and be a part of.

Whilst we all long for a time when we can safely gather together in theatres, this was a brilliant and glorious way to be part of live shows once again.