(Alfred Hickling’s review appeared in the Guardian, 2/9.)



The History Boys

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds 



Alan Bennett cheated his way into ­Oxbridge – at least, that's what he claims, having devised a strategy to give the examiners what they wanted. The guilt never left him, and 50 years later he wrote The History Boys as "both a ­confession and an expiation for what I feel was, in effect, a confidence trick".


Taken at his own estimation, The History Boys could be interpreted as no more than a bright scholarship boy's note from his mum: "Please excuse our Alan his six Tony awards, it's just that he's always been good at exams." Yet as the original National Theatre ­production proved, and this major revival by West Yorkshire Playhouse and Theatre Royal Bath confirms, it is one of the most ­provocatively funny debates ever ­conceived about what education is for and who is entitled to it.


(Read more)




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