The History Boys | Athenaeum Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The History Boys Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 5 2017

For Eclectic Full Contact Theatre's revival of Alan Bennett's Hollywood-friendly 2004 drama about the fight for the minds and souls of incorrigible British schoolboys, set designer Laura Carney makes an astute decision: She places the classroom onstage and the administrative offices in distant nooks amid the audience. The layout amplifies one of the play’s central tensions—the wide gulf between public lessons and private politics. But little else in director Katherine Siegel’s staging brings much clarity to these excessively animated, dramatically scattershot three hours. The show continually charges forward without establishing a credible stage world with recognizable stakes. The boys are being aggressively prepped for entrance exams to Cambridge and Oxford, yet their studies never seem consequential. Even the looming career collapse of Hector, the incurably, heroically nonconformist literature teacher, seems more entertaining than tragic. —Justin Hayford

Price: $27-$32, $17-$22 students and seniors

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