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The premise of these stories is a good one, and the performances, production values and general sound quality is excellent. There were some genuinely touching moments, for example when Guy Fawkes remembers his childhood, or revels in a memory of his previous gunpowder triumph on the battlefield, many years before.
But I disliked this production for several reasons.
Firstly, there were just too many cheap jokes. It really seemed as if all the cheap gags were sprinkled on afterwards to make it an 'easier listen'. The rest of the writing was genuinely witty,cleverly crafted, sensitive and historically informative.
The heavy handed laughter track made the audience seem like a baying mob, who cackled and guffawed at the many and prolonged jokes about torture and violence while ignoring all the more intelligent, genuinely witty stuff.
OK, it's true that a lot of history's major figures came to a sticky end, so that was always going to be part of these stories. And I normally have a very dark sense of humour, so I didn't expect to have a problem with that. But there was something about the way that great chunks of this production revelled in torture, and the snorting and guffawing audience sounded like their blood was up, eager to be in at the death. It was weird, and left a strangely unpleasant aftertaste.
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