It is interesting that it is Alan Bennett’s image which is on the publicity materials for the new West Yorkshire Playhouse production of The History Boys. Normally, publicity materials give a feel of the production, can portray images of actors, but do not tend feature the image of the playwright, even Shakespearean productions. However, for me, the image of Bennett does encompass the overall feel of this production. In my view the production feels as events are projected through a Bennett lens in that they are nostalgic and homely Yorkshire working class with a touch of palatable tragedy. The History Boys is set in the early 1980s, but there is a timeless feel, except for the snippets of early eighties electronic hits played between the scenes. I like the way this play captures the lives of a group of young men at a crossroads point in their lives. The play deals really well with sexual and intellectual awakening and embeds three different approaches to education in the characters of the three teachers. The set is not over cluttered and the revolving stage is used to great effect. This cast interact really well together and this is an excellent production.
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