Friday 10 August 2018

The Dead Leicester Chronicles

Leicester Guildhall

10th August, 2018

'Ay up, me duck!'

The most multicultural city in Europe. Burial chamber of Kings. Fairytale setting for the unlikeliest sporting victory in British history… It’s no secret by now that I am immensely proud of Leicester. My hometown and the beating heart of all (any, to be honest) patriotic tendencies. So if, like me, the prospect of spending an evening indulging in all things Leicestershire is as heavenly as scoffing a Red Leicester and Walkers crisp sandwich while watching Harry Maguire head in another impossible goal, The Dead Leicester Chronicles won’t disappoint.

The evening begins as we’re welcomed into the courtyard of the atmospheric Leicester Guildhall, a deliciously wonky 14th Century timber-beamed building that perfectly sets the tone for the irreverent historic jaunt. In the assured hands of intrepid duo Craig and Ryan Byrne we are whisked away on a whistle-stop tour of over two-thousand years of local heritage – from the mating rituals of the first men, to preparations for the Civil War, to Thomas Cook’s first ever package holiday – a trip to that far away land of Loughborough!

Our guides are tireless and having a blast as they rush around in an energetic parade of hats and hosiery, their affection for the city evident in the torrent of in-jokes and gentle ribbing of Midlands foibles and eccentricities. We’re treated to jokes about Gary Lineker, Showaddywaddy, local dialect, and a fabulous round of provincial puns – the ‘Soar Valley’ one was a particular favourite (I’ll say no more, your imagination can do the hard work)!

Entering the great hall the duo take aim at Shakespeare’s Richard III with comedic verve – you’ll never see the Princes in the Tower the same again. The smart structure of the piece produces ever escalating absurdities – Daniel Lambert as a stand-up-cum-balladeer, anyone? – culminating in the ingenious ‘Hosiery: the Musical’, possibly the most joyously surreal scene I’ve ever seen. As the show concludes in a shower of socks and space-age disco it’s best to stop trying to work out what’s going on and just embrace the silliness – my aching, grinning face said it all!

With a mixture of comedy, live music and interesting info, Dead Leicester is a triumphant love letter to the city. Fun for all the family (I was reminded of the cross-generational appeal of the Horrible Histories series), chock-full of jokes and facts, this is a history lesson you’ll never forget!

For information on upcoming shows please visit

Craig Byrne and Ryan Byrne in The Dead Leicester Chronicles

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