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Silly Kings at Cardiff Castle by the National Theatre Wales

You may remember I wrote a post a while back telling you how much we were looking forward to our trip to see On Silly Kings at Cardiff Castle, by the National Theatre Wales – well, today was the day! We headed off to Cardiff Castle for the 2pm performance, arriving with just enough time to pick up snacks for the kids – popcorn and coconut ice, and organic mulled wine for the grownups – there’s also artisan beer, Fairtrade hot chocolate, and cold drinks available, and for the very hungry – King Herbert’s Extra Special Hot Dog! The food and drink was provided by Milgi’s, an award winning independent restaurant – it’s great to see home grown local outfits getting the opportunity to cater events like this.

Armed with our snacks, we ventured into the Spiegeltent and immediately realised we’d put too many clothes on, thinking it would be drafty like a Big Top – it wasn’t, it was toasty! The stage area takes up most of the middle, meaning that the whole audience is close to the action, and the seating is a mixture of hay bales, wooden benches and diner-style booths – we settled ourselves on some benches and awaited the action, while having fun with the activities in the programme.

The story starts by introducing us to the silliest of silly kings, King Herbert XII, his daughter Princess Fishy and her suitor Derek, and their courtiers. It’s fair to say that King Herbert is very silly indeed, much to the despair of those around him, especially when they hear that Derek’s father King Rupert is intending to pay a state visit…will they be able to persuade him to be sensible, just long enough to get the wedding sorted?

Photos – Farrows Creative / National Theatre Wales.

The tale unfolds with help from six more of Terry Jones’ Fairy Tales, each one woven into the fabric of the story, yet a showpiece if its own; with laughs aplenty for all, and a few sneaky life lessons in there too – I shall most definitely be mentioning the fate of The Beast with a Thousand Teeth when my kids plead for just one more cake. And though I have never seen any Monty Python (I know, I should probably sort that out at some point) I am reliably informed that the show was full of highly amusing Pythonesque references. Don’t let this put you off – I didn’t find it any less funny or absorbing for not picking up on any of them!

Photos – Farrows Creative / National Theatre Wales. 

If you’re looking for a lovely family treat this Christmas, that is on a more thoughtful and less garish scale than the usual panto fare, I can highly recommend booking a trip to see Silly Kings at Cardiff Castle. It’s on at 2pm and 7pm, most days between now and 4th January – you can reserve your tickets here.

**Disclaimer – we were kindly invited to Silly Kings by the National Theatre Wales**



On Silly Kings at Cardiff Castle


One of the things that I am loving about this stage of our life is that that there are so many things opening up to us that we can enjoy all together. Now the littlest is nearly 4, we are way past the nappies and pushchairs, and mostly past the tantrums too, so that things that were out of our reach a year ago, are opening up as possibilities.

I am really, really excited this year about our first theatre trip as a family. We’ve been to a fair few shows with the kids over the years, but because of their ages it’s always been one of us taking one or two of them while the other one entertains whoever is left. But this year I have found a show that I reckon will be a hit for all of us – even the Husband who doesn’t know he is going yet and will probably mutter a bit about it when he finds out, until I pacify him with the fact that we are practically going to see Monty Python.

Well, sort of. I am not sure my kids are quite ready for dead parrots, the Spanish Inquisition and Mr Creosote. But the National Theatre Wales production of Silly Kings – adapted from Fairy Tales by Terry Jones (yes, that Terry Jones) looks all kinds of ace for all kinds of ages, even grumpy 45 year olds. Not that I know any of those of course. *innocent face*

The show is based around the story of Herbert XII, a wise old King who is unfortunately becoming somewhat silly as he grows older. And we’re talking clothes-off-sitting-in-the-fountain-and-shouting-RADISHES!-silly…but despite this, his subjects throughout the kingdom love him so much that they pretend to him that he is still the wise and competent king that he was. This leads to all sorts of shenanigans acted out by ‘extraordinary characters and madcap musicians telling tall tales from a Kingdom East of the moon and West of the sun’. Sounds a lot of fun, and dare I say it, a refreshing change from the panto….

Silly Kings is on at Cardiff Castle – surely the perfect place for magical tales – but don’t worry, you won’t freeze – the production takes place in a Spiegeltent – which promises to be warm and cosy, with practicalities like buggy/wheelchair access, baby change, toilets etc. And there is also mention of festive food and drink on sale. That’s got to mean a bar, right? Excited as I am about our first theatre trip I am realistic enough to know that herding 3 kids around during the peak pre-Christmas excitement phase may have its stressful moments, so a wee glass of mulled wine will certainly be welcome!

Silly Kings is on 19th December – 4th January, – you can watch the trailer here and you can find more details on the National Theatre Wales website.

**Disclaimer – we’ve been kindly invited to Silly Kings by the National Theatre Wales**