LUTG’s History Boys – a fun and impressive staging of Bennet’s play

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Image courtesy of LUTG

The History Boys by Alan Bennet was the quite play for LUTG to decide to undertake what with its well-known critical and artistic acclaim. However LUTG rose to the challenge and impressed with their performance of the play thanks to the hard work and effort of the cast and crew.

The cast had a fantastic energy to them, encapsulating the playfulness and cheek of school boys and their strong camaraderie, something evidently fuelled by the casts’ own friendships. The dynamics on stage were always entertaining and convincing to watch. In fact in this is perhaps the only minor downfall of the play as sometimes lines were lost in the laughter of the audience or the brawl of the on stage classroom. In this though they can certainly be forgiven as the benefits of having such a comically gifted cast far outweighed any of the disadvantages of lines lost. The physicality of the characters was impressive all round but especially in the case of the Headmaster (Finn Burridge) whose very appearance was enough to bring around a laugh with his gangly and awkward walking to match his fumbling and dorkish appearance. However, the scene in which the cast displayed their best use of comic timing had to be the French scene in which, if you do not speak French, not a single word could be understood yet the physicality and delivery of lines was so spot on that the entire audience was laughing throughout.

It was a pleasant surprise to discover just how many freshers were involved in this production, the cast alone featuring four of them. It was also impressive to see how very convincingly the student actors managed to pull off the authority of being a teacher. Although given the fact that Hector (Andy Ainscough) is in fact a PhD student studying Alan Bennett perhaps it is unsurprising that he managed to capture his character so well, bringing a real life to Hector and his quirks whilst also being able to show the darker side to his character. Within the teachers there was certainly still room to play though as shown by Irwin (Will Evans) at the start of the second act as after hearing a particularly loud laugh from an audience member he then continued to directly address them and have them finish his line for him, something that the audience all found particularly funny.

The stage design was impressive with its use of levels to differentiate between inside the classroom and out as well as the use of projections to show videos of the wider school setting during transitions. Not to mention what must have been hundreds of photos covering the classroom walls, all giving context and adding detail to the performance. The fun 80s soundtrack that was interspersed throughout was just the cherry on top of an already great piece.

All in all, The History Boys kept the audience entertained through its entirety and did a brilliant job of bringing this Alan Bennett play to life.