The History Boys

Tony CooperNorwich Theatre RoyalTony Cooper

Norwich Theatre Royal

Alan Bennett's semi-autobiograph-ical play loses none of its weight and appeal since I first saw it at the National six years ago.

His writing really bites and directly hits the mark in this hugely entertaining new production by Theatre Royal, Bath, marvellously directed by Christopher Luscombe with Janet Bird's realistic and striking set fully equipped with a revolving stage as illuminating as the play itself.

And one of the play's most poignant lines - delivered by James Byng as Posner - exemplifies it: 'I'm Jewish. I'm homosexual, I'm small and I come from Sheffield (close to Bennett's home town of Leeds) - I'm stuffed!' Well, something like that!

Sheffield also happens to be the play's setting with the scenario following a bunch of history pupils of the fictional boys' school, Cutlers' Grammar, preparing for their Oxbridge entrance examinations under the guidance of a trio of teachers of differing styles.

Not to be missed!

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t The History Boys runs to Saturday, May 29, nightly at 7.30pm, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm. Box office: or 01603 630000.