Gordon Southern is the goofy, charming British history teacher you’ve always wanted. He’s enthusiastic, swears a bit and probably wouldn’t mark you down if you wrote an essay on the other Michelangelo – the teenage mutant ninja turtle that is. Standing over the audience in a tiny room at The Forum, Southern attempts the seemingly impossible – the history of history in only a mere hour.
Southern plays the role of the teacher quite seriously, demanding our attention with a microphone in hand and PowerPoint to take us back in time – using a blend of pop culture to make history fresh, asking us who really would win in a fight between Hitler and Stalin?
With the aid of amusing keyboard sound effects Southern adds a further game-show like quality to the show and rewards audience members with gold stars for answering correctly to history questions. At times the show is overwhelming, a future glimpse of a contemporary history class where anything goes: jokes, puns, fun-facts and fake facts “did you know Caesar invented the Caesar salad?”
Southern proves that he is a man of many tricks, the most impressive being his hilarious rapping skills. He raps to the audience about the Middle Ages: “Monks didn’t get ladies /everyone had the plague-ies.” Despite Southern’s energy some of the jokes are lost due to the room overheating and becoming a Bikram-like Comedy show.
Southern tries to make the most of a bad situation while mopping his face with a Chux wipe he tells the audience: “you’ll lose two kilos by the end of the show” but unfortunately most were sluggish and clearly ready for hibernation after the hour. Southern is a likeable guy, he doesn’t depend on smut for a laugh and despite its impossible nature does a damn good job summing up the key points of history.
This show is recommended for all who missed out on the cool history teacher at school.
First published on The Pun