I finally saw The History Boys in November. I'd read the play a few times but I’d never got round
to seeing it in London.
So Cast B (as Desmond Barritt called them) are the only cast i've seen. This is a review of them.
Well, taking about the play overall a big thing was i never knew it was (and I hate to use this word) funky!
I had some idea that there was a big screen but not really what effect they would have. And I had no idea that there was going
to be Madness blaring out during them so that was a nice surprise.
Having read the play I recognized there had been a few cuts... some of them didn't matter – Rachel
(who I saw the play with) seemed unaware of anything missing until it got to the HEADMASTER/HECTOR scene when the Head brings
up the fact Hector locks the classroom door. Now, because those scenes had been cut most people were a bit bemused to say
the least. The other main cut that stuck out for me (only because I liked it) was when Rudge wins the kitty money at the end.
The rest of it would have been nice to see but has been deemed superfluous by Alan Bennett himself.
As for individual
performances, I don't know whether I got used to Des Barritt booming or if it subsided in the latter part of act 1. But apart
from that he was believably eccentric and seemed like he knew his literature. Irwin, I did not like, I read reviews of people
who really liked his performance and I don’t know why. He annoyed my, his voice grated and I thought it totally lackluster.
I would really love to know if he based his performance on anyone real, I can't think that he did. The headmaster and Mrs
Lintott were ok, Mrs L. more so. Very dry teacher very realistic.
And now to the (what is the collective noun) of boys.
Crowther and Akthar are what you make of them,
much of a muchness, but played well. They way James Cartwright played Timms was as a little too stupid to be one of the ‘clever
ones’ but he did some great impersonations during the games they played.
Lockwood is a better part than I read
it and Matt Smith is such an active actor that he gave it real life and comedy, some great deliveries by him. Rudge was the
only cast member who was Geordie! Which helped to make him the one no one is sure about! He was really funny too. Touching
in parts, especially to me.
Scripps, played by Thomas Morrison who is such a sweetie. I really enjoyed the role and
the way he played it. He was really confident about talking directly to the audience, and allowing us to understand what was
Posner, by the wonderful Steven Webb, who's work I've followed for so long. I might be biased but I think
he was fantastic the 'drummer hodge' scene was beautiful and although his voice is a little (to quote Liz,) 'Boybandy' I heard
a woman in the audience compare him to Aled Jones(!)
And Dakin, he was a bit of a disappointment to me. I wanted him
to be 'that' boy. The one that was so cool, so hot and really horny and he just wasn't. I was sad for Posner, couldn't he
be in love with someone with much more vitality? He wasn't really awful, but I had invested a lot in him and didn't get it
Over all, the play was fatastic and no one knows how happy i am to finally see it.