REVIEW | The History Boys at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is building itself quite the reputation for its in-house productions, and that couldn’t be any more prominent in the theatre’s latest production of Alan Bennett’s classic, The History Boys.

AD // I was gifted a pair of tickets to see The History Boys in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are my own.

After premiering at The Royal National Theatre, London, in 2004, its propelled itself into becoming one of Bennett’s most adored pieces to date.

Following the story of a group of eight boys who dream of getting into Oxford and Cambridge, the classroom is filled with a diverse range of personalities that often prove to be a challenge for their teachers. And while the play might address serious issues including, it’s balanced out with humour and friendship that creates a truly beautiful coming of age show.

Ian Redford has stepped into the shoes of the boy’s teacher, Mr Hector. Loved by his pupils for his teaching methods, tensions rise when a new fresh-faced teacher, Irwin (Lee Comley), is brought in by Headmaster (Jeffery Holland) to challenge the boy’s to reach their goal of earning their places at Oxbridge.

Frazer Hadfield in The History Boys – Photo by Tim Thursfield

As their teaching methods begin to clash, the boys are pushed to tackle the toughest of history subjects with Irwin’s thought-provoking approach to teaching, while Mr Hector continues to take the more traditional approach.

But beyond their education, the story begins to focus on the powerful personality that each boy brings to the classroom and beyond. There are tales of sexuality and religion that add an extra layer to this beautifully directed play.

The cast of The History Boys. Photo by Tim Thursfield

The set is basic and stripped back, which allows you to focus on the incredible acting that is being brought to the table by an incredibly talented young cast. A beautiful adaption of a timeless classic, directed by Jack Ryder, The History Boys is yet another triumphant piece of theatre that shouldn’t be missed.

The History Boys runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until February 22. Click here to find out more.

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