The History Boys at the Churchill
A true masterpiece by Alan Bennett, this is one of those plays that has the audience pondering whether it, or the film, came first. It is easy to get the two confused, as they both came out at around the same time, and each gives the impression that it is the original. This, in itself, is a sign of screen and playwriting perfection. The History Boys follows a class of cheeky, intelligent and often apathetic-towards-standard-education sixth-form lads, who are in the process of being quickly groomed for their hopeful admission into Oxbridge. With an eccentric teacher nicknamed Hector at the helm, this group of boys explores the world of literature in the most out-there way possible. That is, until a new history teacher is introduced to help them win over the Oxbridge panel.
Right from the start in a rather retrospective opening, the audience is whisked back to the 80s – with the help of a few show tunes and big hair – mainly through the infectious soundtrack from that era, which is often used as a means of transitioning from one scene to another. Throughout the play, the audience starts to really feel for each of the characters as if they were real school boys. The homosexual Jewish student with a love for show tunes, the reluctant Catholic who doesn’t understand why he needs to be Catholic, the teacher who just wants to inspire, but takes an ancient Greek pederasty approach, and the headmaster who cares not for what they learn but what funding would come as a result of any Oxbridge admittance.
This play has it all: hilarity, heart, loss and a brilliant soundtrack. It’s clear why it has been running for so long, and was adapted into a successful film. It is the type of play that could be seen again and again and remain entertaining, which is probably why it has won over 30 theatre awards over the years. While it is on its current tour, it is not one to be missed.
Amaliah Sara Marmon-Halm
The History Boys is on at Churchill Theatre Bromley from 30th April until 2nd May 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for The History Boys here:
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