REVIEW: The History Boys, at Theatre Royal Brighton

Patrick McNamee as Lockwood, David Young as Rudge and Kedar Williams-Stirling as Dakin in The History Boys. Photo Credit Matt Martin Photography
Patrick McNamee as Lockwood, David Young as Rudge and Kedar Williams-Stirling as Dakin in The History Boys. Photo Credit Matt Martin Photography

IT has been voted the ‘Nation’s Favourite Play’, and it is easy to see why.

The History Boys is all about those formative years at school – something we can all relate to, and regularly reminisce about.

In Alan Bennett’s multi award-winning play, we take a look at eight Oxbridge hopefuls and three of the teachers guiding them through the process of heading off to university.

The boys are from a range of backgrounds, but they are all very much aligned by their love of their teacher, Hector, and their desire to get into the nation’s best universities.

It is a relatively far-fetched look at the classroom, as Hector’s fondness for ‘fondling’ the boys is almost forgiven by Bennett and us, too, as the audience.

Perhaps worryingly, we seem able to overlook his misdemeanours, as despite everything, he seems to have the boys’ best interests at heart.

As a straight-down-the-line educator, Mrs Lintott is the polar opposite of Hector’s off-curricum teaching ways, while Irwin, brought in to help them pass their exams, brings an interesting dynamic, being only a few years the boys’ senior.

On the opening night of the show in Brighton yesterday (Monday, February 9), we were treated to several stand-out performances.

Hector, played by Richard Hope, was dramatic and comedic in equal measure.

Dakin (Kedar Williams-Stirling), the cheeky chappy of the group, gave a confident and assured turn, while Steven Roberts gave a hint of the vulnerability, as well as a nod to the intelligence of the young, gay Posner.

The History boys is on at the Theatre Royal Brighton until Saturday, with performances nightly at 7.45pm, and matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

To book tickets, see www.atgtickets.com