Go to What's On


By Toby Hulse
Based on the work by E. H. Gombrich
as translated into English by Caroline Mustill

'...an incredible journey, with ageless appeal...' ***** The Stage

'...a cute, inventive and joyous walk through European cultural history.' **** The Times

'... a sheer joy, an absolute gem...' British Theatre Guide

'...a perfect summer holiday family treat.' ****Whatsonstage

'...history brought so vividly, entertainingly and faithfully to life...' Daily Info, Oxford

'...hydrates those dry textbooks and brings them gloriously alive.' Henley Standard

Tue 14 Jul 2015 - Sat 25 Jul 2015

In association with Reading Rep

Reading Rep

''A brilliant book ingeniously dramatised.’
‘A great show – very inventive and absorbing.’
‘Fabulous! We loved it all – so much energy!’
'Absolutely brilliant.'
Audience comments

Not just a story, but our story, the story that we call the history of the world. Shall we begin?'
E. H. Gombrich

This world premiere adaptation based on the international bestseller takes us on a light-hearted, whistle-stop tour through the centuries from the big bang to the present day. Meet colourful, historical figures, take to the great battlefields, marvel at fabulous works of art and ground-breaking scientific discoveries. Join us on a fun-filled trip through time and discover the extraordinary achievements of mankind and its frailties.

At 26, Ernst Gombrich, a brilliant but unemployed academic, is invited to write an entire history of the world. In just six weeks! The book he writes is an instant success, becomes an international bestseller and is published in 25 languages. Join him, Ilse and Otto as they lead you with infectious enthusiasm through the fascinating, entertaining and heart-warming history of the world.

Touring to village halls and arts centres from Wednesday 24 June to Saturday 11 July. See the full tour schedule here.

Running Times
Act 1: 45 minutes
Interval: 20 minutes
Act 2: 40 minutes

Watermill outreach touring is generously supported by
The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation 


Directed by Paul Stacey
Designed by Victoria Spearing
Movement Director Lee Lyford
Lighting designed by Simeon Miller
Sound designed by Max Pappenheim


Alasdair Buchan


Alasdair trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Most recently, he played Mr McQueen in Urinetown the Musical (Apollo Theatre, West End). Other theatre includes Richard III and The Pride directed by Jamie Lloyd (Trafalgar Studios); Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory); Macbeth (The Lord Chamberlain’s Men); The Importance of Being Earnest (Redgrave Theatre, Bristol); Newsrevue (Canal Café Theatre); Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Courtyard Theatre) and The Lost World at the Bristol Old Vic directed by Toby Hulse.
Film and Television includes: Albie Houndsmoor-Jones in Casualty and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. @alasdair_buchan

Richard Ede


Theatre credits include: Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Bible - Abridged; George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life (Farnham Maltings); Richard Hannay in 39 Steps (UK Tour); Jack Gurney in The Ruling Class (English Theatre Frankfurt); Benedick in Much Ado; Petruchio in Taming Of The Shrew; Cassio in Othello; Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet; Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream; Horatio in Hamlet, Fagin in Oliver Twist (all World Tours for TNT/ADG); Sir Roland in The Wife Of Bath (Rude Mechanicals); Horrible Histories ("Olympic Flame" UK Roadshow); Stanley/The Mask in The Mask (UK Tour) and Sandy in Ben Elton's Gasping (Cragrats Theatre).

Jess Mabel Jones


Jess is a theatre maker, performer and puppeteer and over the years has worked in street theatre, burlesque and cabaret. She is an Open Space practitioner, relaxed performance advocate and associate artist at Battersea Arts Centre. Jess is co-creator of the Tourettes myth-busting show Backstage in Biscuit Land, which won a Total Theatre award in 2014. Jess is thrilled to be back working with The Watermill following her appearance in Hardboiled last year. @jessmabeljones

'...this adaptation by Toby Hulse takes us on a tumultuous voyage.' ***** The Stage

'The production integrates visual and physical theatre with such artistry that it becomes a beautifully choreographed piece...' The Stage  

Read the full Stage review here

'... with this talented trio at the helm, we're in for a cute, inventive and joyous walk through European cultural history.'
**** The Times

'... it's impossible not to enjoy an evening's feisty storytelling. Take your teenagers.' ****The Times 

'Paul Stacey’s inspired direction keeps the piece moving at a cracking pace. '
British Theatre Guide

' Highly recommended.' British Theatre Guide

Read the full British Theatre Guide review here 

'The show has been touring village halls in Berkshire and farther afield and has arrived at the Watermill en route for Reading Rep just in time to make a perfect summer holiday family treat.' ****Whatsonstage

'It's a rather wonderful idea to bring the book to a family theatre audience, where young members might find out some historical fact for the first time or gain a new insight into an already well-known story thanks to writer Toby Hulse's quirky stage realisation of Gombrich's equally quirky take on history.' ****Whatsonstage

Read the full Whatsonstage review here 

'It is, in turns, amazing, dark, informative, joyful, playful, desperate and wonderful.' The Henley Standard  

'Just see it if you can: this is not the dull history of Kings, Queens and dates, this is something very special.' The Henley Standard