The hugely funny Forty Years On offers a light- hearted contrast to the sombre King Lear which Hampstead Players are putting on in November. Forty Years On also requires much less from the actors; no-one has to learn any lines and there are a mere seven rehearsals.
Costumes and props are minimal.
This comedy was Alan Bennett's first West End play and an immediate success - but it is not for the straight-laced. Set in a boys' public school in 1969, it mocks the Christianity on offer there and is full of erotic overtones. Boys are romantically drawn to other boys, masters to boys (the "wandering hands" episode in Act II is hilarious) and one of the masters even tries his luck with the coquettish Matron. As for the bawdy songs - well, they are one reason we are putting the show on in the Crypt Room rather than the church!
During the play the main characters transform themselves into people from early twentieth-century history; some, like Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, are real historical figures. Others are entertaining stereotypes of eg grand ladies, adventurers or writers.. In addition there is a radio announcer, a reader who conveys historical information and a chorus of unruly "boys" many of whom will be men or cross-dressed women. The total cast, even with some doubling up, will be at least 15. The play promises to be great fun to perform in and watch!