I went to see an amateur production of The History Boys last week, I’d been to see it in Jan 07 at Wyndham’s in London… with Ben Barnes as Dakin… I enjoyed the first act, but the second I found completely absurd, the low point being the moment when Dakin asks the teacher if he wants to ‘suck him off’… I know Alan Bennett is gay, but is it really necessary to force homosexuality on an audience play after play? I mean fair enough if his plays were aimed at a mainly ‘gay audience’, but they’re not. His continual reference to homosexuality frankly wears thin.

Infact the only Alan Bennett play I’ve ever enjoyed was a touring production of Enjoy, which played at York Theatre Royal a few years ago. It was expectedly weird and fairly clever, but even still had a transvestite and gay character. I want to make it clear that I’m not homophobic in any way whatsoever, I just think that it is of no benefit to anyone to present gay/bi/trans characters in a non realistic way, the story (and I’m all about story) loses its credability, it doesn’t ‘normalise’ sexual diversity infact it alienates it further. His play for the National Theatre in 2010 was about an Oxford Don and a rent boy…

I think generally Bennett is overated as a playwright. I didn’t understand the hype that surrounded The History Boys, even when it originally opened. I think to an extent theatre appeals to middle class audiences because they think they have to like certain writers to be considered ‘cultured’, but what happened to the idea that ‘you’re only as good as your last play’? It doesn’t seem to exist with the big name playwrights (Aykborne, Godber, Stoppard included), excluding critics of course.

NB. I preferred the amateur production of The History Boys to the National Theatre production.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s