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Haverhill drama group the Centre Stage Company delivers another top production




The History Boys, by The Centre Stage Company,

Haverhill Arts Centre,

May 22.

Review by Roger McCartney

Some degree of trepidation filled my mind as I attended the opening night of The History Boys at Haverhill Arts Centre.

It was my first review for the Haverhill Echo and I wanted it to go well.

But I need not have worried, as Centre Stage soon eased me into the process, with their thoroughly engrossing and carefully thought-out rendition of Alan Bennett’s popular play.

A dramatic scene from The History Boys. Picture by Alison Harris Photography
A dramatic scene from The History Boys. Picture by Alison Harris Photography

Gemma Harrison’s take on the highly entertaining and thought-provoking production was a success on all levels. Packed with humour and played out by an exuberant cast, the company can take a pat on the back for invigorating this theatregoer.

Many performances stand out: Samuel Ward’s Matt Russell, as the headmaster, injected just the right amount of pomposity and humour into the role; Paul Gardiner was convincing as the somewhat mysterious Irwin; Lorraine Mason as Mrs Lintott, was thoroughly resolute throughout, and delivered with aplomb, some of the funniest lines in the play.

Matt Russell plays Felix in The History Boys. Picture by Alison Harris Photography
Matt Russell plays Felix in The History Boys. Picture by Alison Harris Photography

Steve Murray's Hector deserves a mention too, as the mad old genius, and bequeathed the character with its appropriate gusto.

The boys were hugely believable as a typical group of lads and their plentiful rich humour was immensely enjoyable.

Each one of them added something to this performance and Patrick Cowell, Reece Hannigan, James Player, Jay Peters, Charlie Morton-Moody, Ross Forbes, Kian Reeve and Michael Raphael can all take a bow.

Lorraine Mason as Mrs Lintott with Paul Gardiner, playing Irwin, in The History Boys. Picture by Alison Harris Photography
Lorraine Mason as Mrs Lintott with Paul Gardiner, playing Irwin, in The History Boys. Picture by Alison Harris Photography

I liked all of them equally and some fine acting talent was on display.

Special mention to the cast for mastering the particularly wordy script, which included much French.

Many, many hours of rehearsal would have been required for this, and the dedication of the Centre Stage actors deserves praise.

The crew and scene changes were seamless and the whole evening was thoroughly pleasurable.

Thank you, Centre Stage, for rejuvenating my theatre-going senses, and I hope to see you again soon.

n The History Boys continues its run at the arts centre tonight with further shows tomorrow and Saturday. All shows start at 7.30pm.



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