History Boys

Alan Bennett

West Yorkshire Playhouse

West Yorkshire Playhouse

& Bath Theatre Royal

UK tour

 

Director Christopher Luscombe

Lighting Tim Mitchell

 

Cast include

Gerard Murphy

later tour Phillip Franks

Penelope Beamont

 

Janet Bird's chalky set could be any dowdy grammar school in the vicinity, while the suggestion that the scholarship hopefuls might lower their sights to somewhere like Leeds provokes gales of sardonic laughter.

***** Guardian

 

Director Christopher Luscombe’s staging is deceptively simple, much aided by Janet Bird’s set of utilitarian chairs and tables on a revolve with sketched back-drops to indicate changes in location. That ensures that we are distracted from neither the words nor the performances.

 *****Whatsonstage

 

In Janet Bird’s stage design, slow rotations of the central stage piece at appropriate points in the action underscores the revolution of time that is the topic of the boys’ lessons. The illustrious graph paper of every schoolchild’s youth – pale green lines in repetitive squares – figures as the witty base for effective, swift-changing backdrops. Notably, the filmed projections used at the National have been dispensed with entirely, resulting in some snappily paced action.

Whatsonstage (Northern)