The History Boys (Tour)
Posted by Storm on Tue, 26 Apr 2011.
Alan Bennett’s History Boys was premiered in 2004; its rave reviews led to it being shown all over the world and now with a new cast and director, Theatre Bath Royal has taken on this stunning comedy about eight boys trying to get into Oxbridge, but more than that, it looks at the relationship between pupil and teacher and how far that relationship should go.
My first praise goes to Alan Bennett, the greatest writer ever (in my opinion). His comedy is timeless; if you aren’t a big theatre goer then this is the thing to see, easily accessible and slightly sweary. Perfect for teenagers. The second goes to Harry Waller as Scripps, as my favourite character in the play I was praying for an actor to do the part justice. Waller was perfect, there aren’t the words to describe how much I loved his performance, every deadpan line delivered with precision and he can play the piano, what more can you ask for! Every one of the ‘boys’ were hilarious, Christopher Keegan as Timms and George Banks as Dakin especially. But the star of the show was definitely Rob Delaney as the ‘homosexual’ Posner, from his singing to his French he was amazing and I think that he made everyone in the audience fall a little bit in love with Posner.
Now for the teachers, as the only women in the show it would have been easy to be outnumbered by the boys but Penelope Beaumont as Mrs Lintott held her own. The down to earth history teacher doing her job correctly, something few of the teachers at this school seem to be doing. Hector played by Phillip Franks was great, although he didn’t quite live up to Richard Griffiths’ performance in the original cast but none the less he was both bouncy and heart breaking, just as Hector should be. Irwin is my other favourite character, played by Ben Lambert, everything about him was great and loveable and despite his awful lemon yellow tie I still loved him.
I have one fault with this play and that is the Headmaster played by Thomas Wheatley, although I am aware that this character is supposed to irritate you, Wheatley went above and beyond this as he drove me insane, if that was the point then hats off to him, amazing performance if not then …oh dear.
Directed by Christopher Luscombe it is a masterpiece, understated and down to earth. The set designed by Janet Bird was simple but perfect, just a back wall, desks, chairs and a revolving stage. (One of the things that impressed me most about this play was the ability of the boys to move the tables and chairs in less than 10 seconds flat! Incredible.)
The History Boys is comedy at its best, hilarious, thought provoking, every performance excellent and from singing to French it was perfect. Living up to all of my high expectations and managing to outshine a superb original cast, The History Boys is back in style.