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The History Boys

Date

9th November 2017

Society

Hall Players

Venue

The Parish Hall, Broadway, Fulwwod

Type of Production

Play

Director

Jon Ellis & Tom Armitt

Report

Author: Eddie Regan

This play by the well known writer Alan Bennett won an Olivier Award in 2005 for Best New Play.

The Hall Players had decided to choose this piece as the first play of their new season. It was a very ambitious undertaking but John Ellis and Tom Armitt Directors rose to the challenge and provided us with an evening to remember. Set in a boy’s Secondary School in the 1980’s it focuses on the importance of gaining the correct qualifications to get into Oxford or Cambridge.

Bennet’s observations about education were mirrored in the contrasting teaching styles of Hector, played convincingly by Nigel Parsons and the new ‘modern’ style of Irwin played by the versatile and talented Tom Armitt. The set design and construction was excellent with appropriate 80’s set dressing. I felt better use of the follow spot was needed as the play progressed. Quite a large part of the stage was lit when head and shoulders would have been more appropriate.

This is not an easy play to cast as finding young male actors of the appropriate age must have been problematic. The Company have obviously been successful however in obtaining the services of seven young actors. . They had a great rapport as if they really had been in the same class throughout their time at the school.

Lee Ratcliffe as Rudge, Sam Booth as Scripps and Patrick Kennedy as Dakin had already had some experience with this company and I am sure they have enjoyed taking on these more demanding roles. The four newcomers Tom King as Posner, Oscar Foot as Lockwood, Adam Ali as Akthar and Matt I’Anson as Timms certainly gave creditable performances.

I did feel that more volume was needed in Act One but it did improve as the piece progressed.

It was clear that much hard work had been neededfor this Production and all are to be congratulated on an excellent end result.

I did enjoy the choice of appropriate music throughout the evening.

This performance of “ The History Boys” was dedicated to John Nickson, a wonderfully talented actor and much loved man who played many outstanding roles with this Company.

Thank you for a very enjoyable evening.