Nottingham’s gruesome history is explained to us by Madame Parboiled
It was an overcast, warm evening at Nottingham Castle, and several of us ventured out after work to take part in a historical show that is like nothing you will have experienced before – the Madame Parboiled Interactive Dungeon Show. Madame Parboiled is a character played by Kath George. The character of Madame Parboiled is fascinating. She is an executioner’s wife, and while her husband Arthur is away in the pub after a long day executing those who have sinned in Nottingham, Madame Parboiled takes the opportunity to show visitors the dungeons below Nottingham Castle where her beloved works. We’ve compiled a blog of our experience with input from several members of the team as well as guests who took part in the show to give you a flavour of what to expect!
The whole tour was entertaining from start to finish. You are immersed in the character of Madame Parboiled because of her stories, making you feel like you’ve been transported to another time in history. With her quick wit, funny anecdotes and chunks of history thrown in as well as demonstrations of how the sinners were executed in medieval times, it was a tour that is fantastic for visitors and offers a real insight into a darker history of Nottingham Castle. And I can’t say that I left the show ‘alive’, as I was picked out as Madame Parboiled’s victim to be hung in the dungeon – an experience I’ve never had before but one I really enjoyed due to Madame Parboiled’s cheeky nature and inclusiveness for the audience. I would recommend the tour for anyone who wants an hour of laughs, thrills, intriguing historical tales as well a tour of the caves and dungeons below the cities historic landmark. Truly enlightening and value for money.
Madame Parboiled cut a striking figure when she greeted myself and a 20-strong crowd at the gates of Nottingham Castle for one of her weekly Interactive Dungeon Tours. I was taken aback by her medieval clothes, grubby face and, apart from a prominent tooth at the front of her mouth, her toothless smile. Her eyes lit up when she realised that there were little “ens” on the tour which we later discovered would play a key role in selecting “willing” adult victims for the more interactive parts of the tour.
As we stood at the foot of Nottingham Castle Madame Parboiled jovially revealed Nottingham Castle’s varied history. Just before we began our journey into the darkness of the castle dungeons we were given an interactive experience of one form of popular medieval punishment – the pillory. In Madame Parboiled unique and humorous style three volunteers were selected and placed in the pillory and duly punished and jeered by the crowd for their crimes.
In the dungeon itself we discovered more about the fascinating past of the castle in Madame Parboiled’s own unique and interactive style as she beheaded, hung, drew and quartered her way through history. As we entered back out into the daylight I was sad that this memorable and hugely entertaining tour had come to an end. It’s an experience I’ll never forget, with lots of laughs along the way with Madame Parboiled’s warmth and cheeky humour shining through – a must for any visitor to Nottingham.
Madam Parboiled’s humour and interaction with the group was what stood out to me. Both adults and children were involved in the dungeon show, we even got to throw ‘stones’ and ‘mud’ at one of the group members who was chosen to be a medieval rascal, and it was great to hear the laughter echo around the caves. Her facts about the history of Nottingham and the Castle were very interesting and I felt that I came away with a new experience of the Castle’s famous caves.
The Interactive Dungeon tour with Madame Parboiled at the Nottingham Castle was a truly amazing experience. This tour is anything but boring and Madame Parboiled’s skillful acting kept everyone entertained throughout. It’s a perfect pick for both children and adults. Our group had a great time and therefore I would highly recommend it to everyone when visiting Nottingham.
I recently saw Madame Parboiled’s Interactive Dungeon Show and was completely bowled over by her innovative and totally unique retelling of Nottingham’s history! Madame Parboiled, the executioner’s wife, guided us around the Nottingham Castle caves giving us the historical facts with a sprinkling of blood, guts, gore and plenty of good humour.
The kids in the group loved her quirky approach and quickly got involved, as did the adults after we had warmed up! This is a great experience for anyone who believes that history shouldn’t have to be boring and for the kids who love their horrible histories.
Chen Shen – Student at The University of Nottingham
I enjoyed the tour and had a lot of fun. The lady who dressed in the costume and guided us around really made it an enjoyable experience. I loved the interesting stories she told. The interactions were really great and made everyone get involved rather than just listening. As an international student, I also found the tour attractive as it gives a taste of the old England and Nottingham in the past.
More information on Madame Parboiled’s Interactive Shows as well as her Historical Pub Tour can be found on her website.