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The History Boys

The boys are back in town as Sell A Door return to Greenwich Theatre.


Following on from their triumph earlier this year with the nationwide tour of Lord of the Flies, Sell a Door Theatre Company return to London with another adaptation, this time of Alan Bennett’s award-winning play The History Boys.

If you’re unfamiliar, the story is set in a Sheffield grammar school, where a group of schoolboys are preparing for their Oxbridge entrance exams via three teachers and their contrasting methods. The plot raises ideas that are as relevant today as they were in the play’s setting of the 1980s, such as whether or not education and history are as truly important as life, and the simple living of it.

LOTF director David Hutchinson takes to the stage as pushy teacher Irwin, and has his moment with Adam Lawrence’s accurately arrogant yet delightfully dishy Dakin. Lawrence Murphy is fabulous as Posner, the all-singing gay Jew coming to terms with his identity and his feelings for Dakin, while Joe Morrow delivers the religious but down-to-earth pianist Scripps well, and Alasdair Hankinson provides a fun addition as sporty pupil Rudge.

Though the younger members of the cast aren’t without merit, particularly with their array of nice Yorkshire accents, it is Richard Rycroft as Hector and Marcus Taylor as Felix that have an unrivalled abundance of charm, charisma, and comic timing between them. Both are divine, as is Amanda Reed, a much welcome matriarchal force on stage as Mrs Lintott.

Good simplicity is apparent in the prop, set, and lighting design and it is ultimately an enjoyable production. However, the play’s flow doesn’t always seem to move easily, though the quintessential Britishness, Bennett’s deadpan script, and Sell A Door’s fair efforts to convey the play’s original messages do make it worth watching indeed.

3/5

Visit Sell A Door’s official website for more information.

Words: Sam Reynolds

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