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  • The History Boys by Alan Bennett
    by Elspeth at 12:48 on 27 August 2004
    Beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this sold-out run at the National if you can. Bennett's new play is simply fantastic.
    Set in a boy's school in the eighties as a group of history students apply to Oxbridge, it examines different approaches to teaching and questions what it is education is supposed to achieve. It is wonderfully funny - the scene (conducted entirely in French) where Richard Griffith's class are acting out a trip to a bordello, only to be interrupted by the headmaster, is priceless. Frances de la Tour's deadpan turn as the only female in the school is equally impressive.
    But it's the sheer scope of the play that's overwhelming. Three hours slips by in minutes, yet it's taking me days to process the amount of ground Bennett manages to cover.
    No way to really do it justice here, but if you can't see it (it's bound to move on somewhere else in town) grab a copy of the script when it's printed in June.