Friday, 27 July 2012

The History Boys (theatre)

I love The History Boys - it is mischievous, poignant, shocking and fun! This August, Alan Bennett's popular play is returning to Eastbourne in the capable hands of Bootcamp Theatre, the company that has recently produced Art, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Our Country's Good. It will be directed by Sandra Cheesman (Little Gem, Blackbird).

The History Boys premiered in 2004 and  won both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best New Play. It was made into a film starring the original stage cast which included Richard Griffiths and Frances De La Tour, plus two young actors who have gone on to become household names, Dominic Cooper and James Corden.

The play is set in a Sheffield grammar school where a group of eight bright sixth form boys are preparing to sit their Oxbridge entrance exams. It is the first time that the school has put so many boys forward and there are a lot of hopes riding on their exam results. The witty script is a great ensemble piece, driven by the repartee of the boys. It features adult themes of sexuality and power, as well examining the role of history in schools and the philosophies of education. Steve Scott (Our Country's Good, Blackbird) will be playing Hector, the eccentric General Studies teacher who cares more about learning for its own sake than for the restrictions of the set curriculum. The Headmaster is ambitious for his school to move up the academic leagues and does not believe that Hector's coaching will get the class to Oxbridge. So he brings in a cynical young supply teacher, Irwin, to share the workload. The character of Irwin is believed to have been based on Niall Ferguson, now known for his historical television programmes.

Underground Theatre, Wed 22nd - Sat 25th Aug, 19:30.
Tickets £10 / £9. 
Available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or from Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.

1 comment:

  1. I’d been very much looking forward to this play and was delighted to see that so many other people must have been as well – the theatre was full with the great atmosphere maintained throughout the performance.
    The set is simple and quickly recreated for each scene so the overall feel is slick with none of the energy being lost. I particularly like the single door and the relevant boy being quietly thanked for holding the door open is a nice touch. The class work well together so their repartee is believable and each is a recognisable character without ever slipping into caricature. I started to write mentions of actors who deserve particularly high praise but soon realised that I was picking out every single one. So instead I will give my big round of applause to director Sandra Cheesman for bringing out the absolute best from every one of her cast.