History Boys is top of the class

•The History Boys, Loft Theatre, Leamington, until Saturday November 3, box office 0844 493 4938.

HISTORY, as Alan Bennett says in his play, is “just one thing after another”.

But in the back story of many of our lives there are people who make a lasting impact, which will we never forget.

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In the case of Bennett’s bright young class of Oxbridge hopefuls they go on to remember the teachers who helped them achieve their higher-educational goal and taught them a few things about life along the way.

Of the three, Mr Irwin encourages them to ‘think outside the box’.

Bennett’s play encourages its audience to do this too both through the lively, intellectual, cut and thrust of its script and its topical tones.

Its moments of humour are contrasted superbly by thought-provoking pathos and there were some top performances by a mainly young, but nonetheless experienced, cast to do justice to the source material.

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The boys, who between them obviously have myriad talents, provided compelling viewing with the experience of Ben Burman, as the cocksure Dakin, showing why he can list the RSC in his theatre work.

But Loft regular Phil Reynolds, as the eccentric Mr Hector, was equal to the efforts of his young charges and one comedy scene, in which the boys roleplay a brothel visit speaking entirely in French, was as good a piece of theatre as you’ll probably see around these parts.

Bennett’s work is top of the class and the Loft’s production makes the grade.

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