Something about Alan Bennett‘s, The History Boys always has me coming back for more. I can’t even count how many times I’ve watched the film, and I saw the National Theatre production of the show three times, so I was absolutely delighted when The Churchill Theatre got in touch to invite me along to see the new production of the show, currently touring the UK.
Kate Saxon‘s direction makes a change from Nicholas Hytner’s production, which whilst fabulous, is now almost the traditional way to produce this play, recently voted the Britain’s Favourite Play.
Watching The History Boys post Operation Yewtree is incredibly interesting. The actions of Hector and the temptations of Irwin hang over the audience in an even more sinister fashion than before. Interestingly, this seemed to mirror what was discussed on stage, “there is no period so remote as the recent past”. Yet now, thirty, even forty years on, the magnitude of what was happening is becoming apparent. Anyway, I digress, back to Kate Saxon’s production!
Dakin, as machiavellian as he is charming, is the focal point of the plot and was played wonderfully by understudy Matthew Durkan for Monday night’s performance. I loved Posner, the endearing, love struck and slightly less innocent than he seems Oxbridge candidate, played by Steven Roberts. All the cast were strong, loveable and fast paced in their delivery of the dialogue. Mrs Lintott, Totty, (Susan Twist) has her big moment two thirds of the way into the show, taking centre stage and receiving a huge laugh from the audience.
The mastery of Alan Bennett‘s writing, in conjunction with great direction and a fabulous performance is what makes the character of Hector so fascinating. He reminds me of a teacher I had at school (minus certain obvious aspects), someone full of passion for learning but disdain for education. His love of the boys, and desire for them to succeed is palpable and played by Richard Hope in this production, his energy and vulnerability comes through. Of course, we probably shouldn’t like Hector, but we always do and without giving too much away for those who don’t know the show, the final scene has always left me weeping, and last night’s performance at The Churchill Theatre was no exception.
Full of quotable lines, and quotes themselves, The History Boys is a witty and moving show that will stay with you long after you leave the theatre, and encourage you to pick up that big, intimidating volume on your bookshelf and continue learning.
I’m thrilled to offer readers of That Emily a discount for the show whilst it’s at The Churchill Theatre! Simply quote HISTORYPACKAGE when making your booking and you’ll receive a Band A seat, programme and drink for £25. Visit The Churchill Theatre’s website or call on 0844 871 7620.
The show is running at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley until Saturday 2nd May.
“Pass it on boys, pass it on.”