Alan Bennett’s The History Boys is a slick and effortless watch. The story focuses on a group of school boys who are applying for prestigious universities. Alan Bennett’s writing has been much celebrated, but this show doesn’t just rely on great writing.
With the clever use of a large screen high above the main stage and music, the audience was immediately engaged. The staging provided a believable classroom and the camaraderie between the boys felt genuine. The story was easy to follow through the writing, acting, comedy and the use of music.
All of the cast had great chemistry, giving excellent performances, complementing each other well. Hector, played by Ian Redford, is a central character to the story and he delivered a strong acting performance throughout. Frustrations between Hector and Headmaster, played by Jeffrey Holland, were well demonstrated, whilst Victoria Carling, who played Mrs Lintett, delivered a wonderfully believable performance. The relationship between Hector, Ian Redford, and Mrs Lintett, Victoria Carling, was particularly touching. The new teacher Irwin, played by Lee Comley, also illustrated his acting prowess as his character developed.
Timms, played by Dominic Treacy, and Posney, played by Thomas Grant, provided many laughs. They both had the audience laughing out loud on numerous occasions during the show. Thomas Grant also demonstrated his vocal talents while Frazer Hadfield, playing Scripps, showed his musical abilities with his piano playing. The character Rudge, played by Joe Wiltshire Smith, also stood out for his acting and for providing many funny moments.
The energy and pace was well maintained throughout and as the character Rudge would say “It’s one thing after another!”
The stage felt spacious, open and well used, with unnoticeable transitions, due to the clever use of the set, space and music. The entire performance showcased the impressive directing skills of Jack Ryder.
The History Boys provides quality, professionalism, an easy watch and many laughs. It plays at Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 22 February 2020.
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