Classic drama brought to life

PUBLISHED: 10:35 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

A CLASSIC modern drama will be brought back to life on the stage in Bath later this month.

A CLASSIC modern drama will be brought back to life on the stage in Bath later this month.

Alan Bennett's The History Boys made a phenomenal impact during its National Theatre debut, winning three Olivier Awards, six Tony Awards, the Critics' Circle and Evening Standard Awards, including Best Play.

The Bath show is set to be the first production of Alan Bennett's internationally acclaimed story of a Yorkshire Grammar School since the original.

The History Boys will be staged at the Theatre Royal from January 26-31.

Christopher Luscombe will direct the groundbreaking play, teaming up with designer Janet Bird to reunite the creative team behind Alan Bennett's Enjoy, which played triumphantly in the West End last year after opening in Bath in 2008.

One of the great plays of the decade, The History Boys is set in a school in the North of England where a boisterous bunch of bright, funny, sixth-form students are attempting to gain entrance to Oxford or Cambridge whilse evading the distractions of sport and sex.

In the much-loved play, staffroom battles and the anarchy of adolescence promise to provide a rich vein of comedy.

The headmaster has his eye on the league tables but the endearingly eccentric English teacher Hector has very different ideas about how the boys should be prepared for exams and for life.

Taking them through an eclectic timetable encompassing everything from the great poets to Edith Piaf, Hector insists that learning is for life, not just for the exam room.

When the headmaster brings in Irwin, a bright junior master to coach the boys, the pupils' allegiances are divided.

Hector is played by Gerard Murphy, whose numerous stage credits at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester's Royal Exchange, Northampton's Theatre Royal, Birmingham Rep and Sheffield Crucible include King Lear, Turandot, I'll Be The Devil, Hamlet, Henry V, Blue/Orange, Volpone, The Weir, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Amadeus, Assassins and The Thebans.

His television credits include Spooks, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Trial and Retribution, Waking the Dead, McCallum, Vanity Fair and Doctor Who and film work includes Waterworld and Batman Begins.

Penelope Beaumont returns to the Theatre Royal after her performance in last year's production of Alphabetical Order.

Her extensive stage credits include many roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare's Globe. Her television credits include Holby City, Peep Show, EastEnders, Doctors, The Bill and Wire in the Blood.

Kyle Redmond-Jones plays the cocksure Dakin. His film credits include Star Crossed and The Edge of Love, and television credits include Merlin (BBC). The cast also includes George Banks, James Byng, Rob Delaney, Christopher Keegan, Beruce Khan (who played Bath last November in The Black Album), Ben Lambert, Peter McGovern, Tom Reed and Thomas Wheatley.

Tickets, priced £15.50-31.50, are available from the box office on 01225 448844.

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